A Business Offering Discounts If You Give Them a 5 Star Review

RuggedSEO

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Joined
Nov 10, 2015
Messages
30
My client (tourist attraction) went to play a game at a competitors facility the other day after hearing a rumor that they were violating Google's ToS. Sure enough, same thing happened with him and his group.

After the game, the business owners said they would give him a discount or a raffle prize IF he gives them a 5 star Google review.

Apparently he's been doing this all year and has racked up 400+ reviews with this tactic.

How can this be stopped? I mean, do we need to go in there with spy cams? lol
 

Wirenut

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Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
107
I know contractors who do this because they tell us that they do it when we talk at the supply house or at contractor association meetings. When the job is done and the customer is happy, they will offer a discount if the customer gives them a review then and there.

I understand the motivation because I have had so many customers who were very happy and continued to use me and refer me, but they never left me a review even thought I put a big link in each email with the receipt after the job and they had a Gmail address. Motivating them to do it is hard.
 

RuggedSEO

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Joined
Nov 10, 2015
Messages
30
Yes, but isn't providing incentives in exchange for a review against the ToS?

So, if their competitors (ie. My client) is playing by the rules, they are the ones being punished by losing out on all those incentivized reviews.

I'm able to help my client get many legit reviews but nothing like essentially paying people for them.
 

Wirenut

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Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
107
Yes, but isn't providing incentives in exchange for a review against the ToS?
Yes.

But in the grand scheme of things, people really don't care what Google's ToS's say. I doubt anyone who registered on this forum read the TOS or rules either.

In the end, it's not what you know, it's what you can prove. If you were to go in there and record them soliciting 5 star reviews for discounts, would there be a place to post the video for Google to see?
 

raellovepie

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Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
27
Yes, it is against Google's ToS to use incentives to solicit reviews: Get reviews on Google - Google My Business Help

Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased. (For example, business owners shouldn't offer incentives to customers in exchange for reviews.)
I had my share of this experience. Our competitor created a contest for a $500 gift card if you left a Google & FB Review. They would give cards with the instruction on how to win the gift card. I was able to get one of these cards.

I sent a message to the @GoogleMyBiz twitter account with the photo of the card and the details.

1572541097635.png


They replied back and ask me for more details. Unfortunately, I can't get further details since I have no access to their GMB account.

Now, you may be wondering. Maybe, you can escape with it... Try a 1-month long campaign and not do it again. But you don't want to be on the bad end of this.

Imagine having 100 reviews with an average of 4.1/5 star reviews. If Google can prove you violated their terms, they can remove almost all your positive reviews and MAY leave you with bad ones. Check what happened to this law firm:


You can incentivize review submissions. That is your business. But for me, it is a risk not worth taking if the consequence is as drastic as the example above.
 

RuggedSEO

Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2015
Messages
30
Since there's no written proof, I guess we can't get anyone to help look into this then? Now I'm thinking the spy cam may not be such a far fetched others idea. Send the footage to Google via Twitter or whatever.

I know it must hurt my client and others in the area knowing that the one owner who is breaking the rules is the one who's "winning".
 

Wirenut

Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
107
I can assure you that this is incorrect.
I know I generalized when I said "I doubt anyone". I should have said "I doubt 99.99% of the people". I should have known that someone would pick that apart, my mistake lol. I think my point still stands.
 

kate-nz

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2019
Messages
8
What do google do about it? Do they remove the reviews/ or some reviews? A competitor has an actual page on their website stating clearly that they have a monthly prize draw of $100 for reviews.
 

SmallBizGeek

Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Messages
49
This is wrong and annoys me as I have clients whose competitors are doing just this: asking for reviews and offering discounts in return.

Furthermore, I have rivals who do this sort of thing all the time. I've never done it and yet Google has removed some genuine reviews that customers left for me without my asking for them. What a rotten system.
 

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