Update: The problem was resolved and all the listings should now be “Active” again. Here is the comment by Google Employee Brianna:
As many of you have noticed, this issue has been resolved by our engineers. Listings that reverted to “Pending – being reviewed” on 7/18/11 are restored to Active.
If you still have any listings that are marked as “Pending”, please review the attached FAQ.
Listing is marked as ‘Pending’ : Account issues – Google Places Help
Today all the Google Places listings in the world seem to have got the “Pending Review” status once again. The same problem occurred back in March 2011, and was solved in about 1 week. This seems to be bug again, and not an actual manual checking of the listings, as the status would suggest.
As threads started popping up one after another in the Google Places Help Forum, Google decided to create a pinned one on this topic. In the beginning, everyone was claiming that no changes appeared either on their organic ranking, or on their Place pages themselves, and Google Employee Brianna claimed:
Thanks for reporting this issue. We are aware that listings have reverted to pending in users’ accounts. To check if your listing is live, please do a search in Google Maps for [BUSINESS NAME in POSTAL CODE].
Boost ads are unaffected by this issue.
We will follow up with more information when we have it.
However, the last answers in the mentioned thread suggest that actually the problem is bigger than it was considered as in the beginning:
User laurabehney states:
My Places Listing doesn’t show up. I did the first recommendation (Edit/Submit on my Places Listing) and now when searching for my BUSINESS NAME in POSTAL CODE as recommended above, my listing doesn’t appear! MANY things are missing from my Places Listing as well.
It seems that not only the ranking, but also the listing itself is harmed, and same is claimed by user jatsfam.
Furthermore, user eGumBall gives the following tip:
Without changing content… hit edit >> then submit. You should go active.
Although this seems to fix the problem, proving that this is a bug, it seems to lead to an instant drop in ranking, as noted by user Lois123 in the same thread. The same is somehow confirmed by statements in other topics.
As bugs frequency increases, we could not do anything but hope the issues will be fixed as soon as possible, and speculate about the reasons for them to occur. It is my personal opinion that these glitches appear as a result of Google testing major changes in its algorithm. I will follow up this topic.