We know how critical online reviews are for your business. Many will go to extreme lengths to improve their online reputations. You’ve probably heard of fake reviews, but not many people have heard of “review gating.”
It has become a new trend that will possibly hurt the landscape of fair reviews.
Let’s jump into what review gating is and why we don’t recommend it.
What is Review Gating?
Review gating is the act of soliciting feedback from a customer and then deciding whether to ask them for a review based on their response. In a way, think of this as cherry-picking the comments that fit the narrative you want. However, this practice is strictly against the Google My Business review guidelines and comes with heavy penalties.
It’s similar to the issue with fake reviews. Since reviews are imperative to a business’s online reputation, this can have long-term negative ramifications.
You’d be surprised at how effective Google has been in finding and punishing this kind of suspicious activity on Google My Business accounts.
Why is Review Gating Hard to Manage?
Review gating is a new concept that people are starting to learn about. It is a loophole that can be hard to catch. It can be hard to determine if someone is purposely only asking happy customers to leave reviews and facilitating that mission.
Why are companies penalizing review gating? Every company knows the importance of online reputation and positive reviews. However, the point of online reviews is to give an authentic opinion about your experience to help others navigate their purchase decisions. Some major review sites like Google and Yelp have banned review gating practices since it goes against their ethics review practices.
Google’s terms of conditions say, “Don’t discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.” This ultimately means you cannot only send reviews to increase your ranking, and if you do and you’re caught, you might jeopardize your business.
What Can You Do Instead of Review Gating?
You can’t do much about review gating when it comes to other businesses. If you suspect as much, definitely report it to the platform the reviews are posted on.
As for improving your business’s online reputation, focus on getting positive reviews authentically. It takes effort to build an excellent online reputation with honest feedback and responses to negative reviews.
It’s all about customer service, and your online reputation should reflect that.
If you need tips on getting more positive reviews, check out our post for how to ask for reviews in email campaigns!
Another Solution: Automation
You can manage reviews in line with Google and Yelp’s review policies through automation software. At Review Inc, our mission is to follow and encourage ethical review standards, and we do not support review gating.
The concerns of review gating are nerve-wracking, but they don’t have to stress you out or ruin your online reputation. Many companies rely on automation software to manage online reviews to better their business. Set up a demo to get started today!