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Incentivized Reviews Can Hurt Your Business More Than Help


How does your business get reviews?

I stumbled across a post earlier by a business owner asking for help on how to get more reviews.

? ??????’? ????? ? ?????? ?????? ?? ??? ???????? ??????? ???? ????? ??? ??????!

I was shocked to see other business owners telling the OP to incentivize reviews…

Do you incentivize customers to leave reviews with a discount, free gifts, drawing, etc?

If so, you’re doing it wrong.

Yeah, I said it.

All it takes is one competitor or upset customer to out you if the algorithm doesn’t do it first…


What Does Google My Business Say About Incentivized Reviews?

Google clearly states the following.

“Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased. (For example, business owners shouldn’t offer incentives to customers in exchange for reviews.)”

What Is Yelp’s Take On Incentivized Reviews?

Yelp takes an even tougher stance.

If they even think you are asking, let alone incentivizing, they are going to make sure people know about your practice.

“Businesses should not ask for or solicit reviews on Yelp, as it leads to deceptively biased content. This includes asking friends, family, or customers to write reviews; offering incentives or freebies in exchange for reviews; or working with companies that send review solicitation emails.

If we find indicators of systematic review solicitation, we will apply a search ranking penalty to affected Yelp business pages. Businesses can avoid this review solicitation penalty by complying with Yelp’s policies.

Extreme attempts to manipulate a business’s reputation and inflate search ranking by soliciting or purchasing reviews on Yelp may lead to a Consumer Alert on the business’s Yelp page.”

How About Facebook Reviews?

What about Facebook, Chas?

I would still say do not incentivize for reviews.

What do I suggest?

If you are brick and mortar, post signs and ask them to check-in instead.

You would be amazed at how people checking in strokes the Facebook algorithm in your favor.

What About Trust Pilot? How Do They Feel About Incentivized Reviews?

Trust Pilot is a highly trusted platform when it comes to business reviews generation and listings.

Like the other platforms listed above, Trust Pilot takes a strong stance on incentivizing your customers for reviews.

Here is what Trust Pilot has to say about asking for reviews and offering things like incentives and discounts for reviews.

“If you’re asking for reviews, your invitation process and language should be fair, neutral and unbiased. It’s possible to ask reviewers to provide a reference number when they leave a review, to help identify an experience.

You shouldn’t provide incentives like discounts, monetary rewards, loyalty points, gifts, coupons, referral bonuses and the like when asking for reviews.

Reviews can’t be collected on company premises without our prior permission. And you can’t ask customers to use your equipment (for example, an iPad) to review your company.”


In Conclusion

Your best reviews will come from customers and clients who truly believe in your business. These reviews will be powerful for your business because those customers are expressing a heartfelt review of their experience with your business.

How can you make this happen for your business?

Make sure your customers have a great experience with you!

Be your best!

Treat your clients with respect!

Maybe offer a discount or free upgrade once in a while without asking for anything in return.

Bottom line: don’t incentivize with discounts for reviews.

You cheapen your product or service and you may be running afoul of terms of service agreements you signed off on.

Need Help With Customer Reviews? Learn How C.H. Local Media Can Help.

If you need help getting customer reviews for your business the right way and how to make it happen, contact C.H. Local Media today. We are passionate about helping business owners grow their businesses.

Contact us today to learn how C.H. Local Media Empowers Business Owners and Entrepreneurs to Build Strong Brands and Successful Businesses in Their Communities.

This blog post was inspired by a Facebook post by our Founder & Managing Director, Chas Henry.


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