Possible Change In Criteria / Reviewing For Anything That Is A Business?
Now that Niantic is opening up opportunities for smaller sponsored locations, I believe it would make sense for Niantic change the way "local hotspots" / "hidden gems" are reviewed. There's a fine line between something actually being portal worthy or not in these instances. It's also an issue of lost business opportunities for Niantic.
It would help to add an option for reviewers to mark all such nominations as businesses. It could be as simple as mark 1* / Business. All nominations marked as this go into manual reviewing.
After that let OPS manually review these nominations. Such a revamped criteria would also feed Niantic with legitimate leads that might be interested in getting a sponsored location - If the players are already interested in the location, Niantic can deliver real business results with ease.
Also, retroactively move out nominations that have been accepted wrongly under this criteria. Eg. the tons of local shops in Bangladesh that are really generic af. This would include adding an option to report stuff as a generic business.
This criteria is a very controversial one that sees a lot of good nominations get rejected and at the same time sees a lot of very unworthy stuff get accepted depending on the reviewers in an area. In India for example. it's currently impossible to get something approved under this criteria.
If the argument is that Niantic is short staffed (been hearing that since 2012), that would be incorrect. When Pokemon Go or Wizards Unite edits are requested via the support, they are manually reviewed by Niantic staff.