The Ugly Truth About Review Incentives

When discussing tactics for getting online reviews, incentives often comes up as a strategy.

However, companies out there are often tempted to provide incentives for reviews. It seems like a quick fix and a guaranteed solution to improve your online reputation. But is it worth it? 

Not only is this firmly against policies of prominent review sites, such as Google and Yelp, but it can also create numerous other issues. Overall, we do not recommend incentivizing reviews, and here’s why.

review incentives
Yelp is one of the most outspoken companies against review incentives.

Violates Terms and Agreements

When you create profiles on these sites, as a company, you sign off on their terms and agreements. In return for using their site to generate traffic, major review sites do not want outside interference with their algorithms. It’s meant to serve as an authentic representation of your business and how customers view your product or service.

Both Google and Yelp make their policies explicitly clear: no incentivized reviews or content will be removed, and possible service suspension. It goes against the purpose of authentic reviews.

Is it worth it? Think how imperative reviews are to your business, and incentivizing reviews is not worth the risk. 

If you want to brush up on Google and Yelps terms and agreements, you can find Google’s here and Yelp’s here.

Lose Trust From Customers

It’s pretty apparent when a company is providing incentives. Often you see a pattern or too many positive reviews around the same time period that seems fake or don’t leave any details. Bribing customers for reviews with incentives multiple times will cause consumers to lose trust in your brand.

Even if a person were to accept an incentive for a review, that person would most likely question the product’s quality of service since they’d assume all other reviews are fake. Customers will not feel confident in your business. Losing trust from customers can be difficult to rebuild and is not worth the gain.

Massive Financial Losses

Another repercussion for providing incentives in exchange for reviews could lead to lawsuits. In 2019, a company named UrthBox found itself in legal trouble after providing incentives in exchange for positive reviews. These incentivized reviews were a violation of the Restore Shoppers Online Confidence Act. The Federal Trade Commission quickly got involved, and UrthBox was sued for $100,000 for their infringement.

The lesson to learn from UrthBox is no incentives or reviews would be worth losing a company over or the devastation of a massive lawsuit. The risk is far too high, especially when it violates federal regulation standards. 

google reviews
Google states that it is against their Terms of Service to incentivize reviews. 

What Can Businesses Do Besides Incentivizing Reviews? 

You don’t have to rely on risking your account by exchanging incentives for positive reviews. There are lots of ways to get positive reviews. You can ask for reviews after a purchase or service appointment; make sure you’re always checking all review sites and responding quickly whenever you get feedback.

Have clear communication and expectations with your customers. Leave lots of opportunities to ask customers how their experience was and how you can do better. Create a protocol for customer service to increase your odds of positive reviews. For more tips, check out our post on positive reviews.

Use Reputation Software

You don’t have to worry about using incentives for reviews because the best solution is review management software. This is your best option when it comes to managing your online reputation. Reputation management software is an investment because it keeps your online presence in good standing.

ReviewInc’s reputation management software makes managing reviews and keeping customers happy. It’s easy to use, too! You won’t have to worry about negative reviews. Not only are accounts managed by professionals who can handle customer service while protecting your online reputation. To learn more about ReviewInc software, you can request a demo.