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Example of a Company Violating Google's Review Guidelines or Legit?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Had a Sales Rep for a Review Company Approach me recently regarding Reviews.


As this is one area we help service-based businesses with, I decided to hear him out to see if it was something that would help our clients.


During the presentation, I had a bad feeling and wanted to see if it was unfounded.


What I Did like about the "system":

  • Encourages Reviews from All Customers (what was presented was sending out a text although email, etc may be avialable as well)
  • Tracks Reviews across multiple sites: Google, Yelp, and a handful of others including certain verticals

What caused the uneasiness:

  • Minor Uneasiness - Mass Text/Email is not natural and could result in Huge influx depending on List Size (Although these could be spread out over time and as long as it's ongoing, there should be a stead stream of reviews each month
  • Major Uneasiness - the reviews do not post immediately to Google, Yext, etc, but to a Dashboard where the Business Owner decides which (Positive or Negative) to Allow to be Posted (The part I'm missing here is How since I don't believe they have the Reviewer's login credentials for the Respective Review Sites)

The first bullet-point in the Google Review Content Policy states - 

  • Advertising: Don’t use reviews for advertising, such as adding links to other websites or phone numbers. Reviews should be a genuine reflection of your experience with a place - don't post reviews just to manipulate a place's ratings.

I'm trying to figure out at what point the line is crossed to "manipulating" reviews.


Would love to hear everyone's thoughts - especially those more familiar with Review Guidelines (which when I asked the Sales Rep, he had never read Google's Review and Photo Policies, much less any other Review Site's).


Another item that may factor in - I did have a Developer create a "Reviews Plugin" 3-4 Years ago due to the importance of Reviews - This was added to WordPress sites and had direct links to the Review Sites I added to it.  I added it to a Reviews Page on WordPress sites along with text that encouraged the potential reviewer to call the manager if unhappy and otherwise leave a review. I believe this plugin was less manipulative than the process outlined above, but I still scrapped the idea as I did not want anything that could potentially negatively impact my clients down the road. And my focus is still on my Clients and making sure a system like this (even if it doesn't currently) never negatively affects my clients.


Second item that may or may not factor in - Spoke with another Google Partner who very directly stated that it was a violation and minimum if found out, all reviews (positive and negative) would be removed. And maximum - Local Biz would be removed from Google Maps for at least one year...


Thanks in advance for any and all feedback!


- Scott

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Example of a Company Violating Google's Review Guidelines or Legit?

Google Small Business Advisor
# 2
Google Small Business Advisor

@Scott L S - I'd really steer clear of any service like this... and I'd focus on getting sincere and genuine reviews from your true customers. Review sites are under heavy pressure right now to get their acts together... if a business is caught (or thought) to have been messing around with reviews... the reviews are going to be taken down and it's going to be a long road back. Just my personal thoughts.

Re: Example of a Company Violating Google's Review Guidelines or Legit?

Top Contributor Alumni
# 3
Top Contributor Alumni
Every time something new games importance online the shady or marketers try to find a way to manipulate it and then sell that manipulation is the service.

I think a lot of what people preach about social networking is pretty much the same. Oh you should post 20 times a day so that people interact with you and obviously that can't be all original content so you have to use or buy content that already exists blah blah blah

To me that is disingenuous because it is not unique original content you were just recycling other peoples content to meet at imaginary quota .

Re: Example of a Company Violating Google's Review Guidelines or Legit?

[ Edited ]
Badged Google Partner
# 4
Badged Google Partner

I tell businesses to provide great service with a great attitude and the reviews will come. Stay clear of being able to show positive reviews and not negative one. Users will see through this right away.