Incentivizing individual Google reviews or soliciting Google reviews in bulk, is usually always a bad idea
Everyone by now, is aware of the importance of online reviews and the difference that they make to your online reputation. Savvy online users are also aware of how much reviews effect your ranking on Googles Search Engine Results Pages. Evidently the law firm of Winton & Hiestand located in Louisville, Kentucky felt these reviews were important too, so much so that they were offering Free Family Passes to the local zoo in exchange for all 5 Star Review Ratings. They racked up nearly 100 reviews on Google (and more than 1,000 on facebook) before their incentive strategy was reported inside of a Google My Business forum. Once Google became aware of their policy they removed everyone of their reviews except one.
This screen shot was taken about two weeks ago. Right after all of their reviews were stripped, save this one.
These types of practices are specifically against Google’s stated policy regarding written reviews and financial incentive. In a nutshell, DON’T DO IT. These types of reviews as well as the ones requested in bulk are both frowned upon on Google and once discovered can work to your businesses disadvantage.
Above and beyond these particular Google policies, there are state laws and federal regulations (FTC rules against “consumer deception”) that may be broken by improper review solicitation.
It seems being a law firm that they would know this – but alas a quick review of their Google My Business listing shows they now have 46 new reviews all occurring in the last week, from many accounts that have never left a review before. Can anyone say ‘suspicious’?
This is a case we will have to monitor and keep you updated on. Curious to see how Google will handle their obvious second attempt at gathering reviews in bulk.
Obtaining quality reviews is of paramount importance if you want your business to be seen and given due consideration on line.
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