incentiveI’ve been on the receiving end of reviews. I am also a reviewer and a Yelp Elite member and Google Local Guide member, so, I know what goes on and businesses solicit reviews and offer various rewards all the time. This does not, however, make it ok. Here’s why.

Also, if you need more reviews for your business, consider taking a look at our reputation marketing service to get more reviews.

Below are some reasons to not offer incentives for reviews. First, you should know that Yelp will publicly shame you if you’ve paid for reviews. If this happens to you, when someone visits your Yelp page, this is what they’ll see:

Yelp buying review warning

Can I offer incentives to get people to leave reviews?

I’ve been there; I know it is tough to get people to take the time to leave you a review, especially if they’ve had a good experience. Unfortunately, I don’t make the rules. Here are the facts:

  • Federal Trade Commission. You don’t want to piss these people off. They say “…it’s okay to invite people to post reviews of your business after they’ve actually used your products or services. If you’re offering them something of value in return for these reviews, tell them in advance that they should disclose what they received from you…” You can read their page for yourself here.
  • Yelp doesn’t want you offering incentives for reviews. And, above is what they’ll do if you pay people to leave reviews. Yelp goes a step further; they don’t even want you ASKING for reviews. Their official policy is here Yelp: Don’t ask for reviews. (more on Yelp below..)
  • Google’s review policy: “…Don’t offer or accept money, products, or services to write reviews for a business…” You can read Google’s review policy in full here.
  • AVVO: “All reviews are moderated by Avvo prior to being posted.  Reviews are most useful to others when they include specific details of your experience…” AVVO guidelines
  • TripAdvisor: “…We encourage accommodations to ask their guests to write reviews… …However, we prohibit incentives because they can hinder the validity and accuracy of reviews…”  Review Policy

How Can I get more reviews?

Some companies want you to ask for reviews. Some companies don’t. What’s the deal? I just want reviews!

There is a grey area for Yelp that I should point out. You can tell people that you’re listed on Yelp and that you accept reviews there without actually saying “Hey, can you leave me a Yelp review?”.

If you need more reviews for your business, consider taking a look at our reputation marketing service to get more reviews.


Leave a Reply