Review gating - yes or no?

$ballKing

Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2018
Messages
5
I’ve been lingering around the forum mostly following these helpful threads on how to manage online reviews. One topic that continue to confuse me is review gating. I get Linda Buquet example here as that's certainly filtering. But, what if my email invite has two sections: On the top, it appears to invite the client to post about their experience on a targeted review site (say Google, FB, Yelp). In a section below, it states “If you had a bad experience, contact us directly” and it includes a link sending that reviewer internally.
On the surface, it appears the platform is giving both happy and unhappy clients an option to post to targeted review sites. But it’s strongly implied that unhappy clients should be directed to the internal-only link and, after clicking, are never given another opportunity to post a public review online.

Is that still considered review gating? Thanks.
 

Colan Nielsen

Administrator
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
3,283
I think your example would be fine since you are providing a link to go to review you on Google from the get-go. What Google doesn't want is a scenario where you only give the option to leave a review on Google AFTER and ONLY if someone has indicated that they are happy. And on the flip side, if you hide the option to leave a review on Google based on them expressing a bad experience, Google would consider that gating.
 

$ballKing

Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2018
Messages
5
Thanks Colan. I'm certainly not doing that. I attached a graphical view of my description above that I plan to use. I'm seeking my management approval and believe this meets the new rules. Again the three sites Google, Facebook, Vitals (our target sites) would open links to our pages. If someone is unhappy they can contact us directly instead.
 

Attachments

tedchan

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2018
Messages
39
I run a Vitals competitor and we'd be OK with that. Don't think Vitals would care under any condition TBH.
 

$ballKing

Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2018
Messages
5
Ok. After a delayed management meeting yesterday here's the consensus -

If Google’s goal is to minimize the number of biased reviews that are weighted positive, then technically that has been achieved with my proposed plan (the unhappy person can still post a review); but practically, it has not (the unhappy person was provided a shiny bull’s eye to express their discontent which will lead them away from posting a review.)

I guess I am struggling to understand the rationale behind preventing review gating, then. Thoughts here?
 

$ballKing

Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2018
Messages
5
@tedchan - FWIW, given my dilemma above, I planned to rotate Vitals with other sites like healthgrades, yelp, ratemd, yellowpage, etc. Those are the review sites I believe people are using. What site do you run? (if that's what you mean).
 

Cherie Dickey

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jan 30, 2018
Messages
252
I guess I am struggling to understand the rationale behind preventing review gating, then.
For Google, the goal is to give the searcher as complete a picture of what it's really like to patronize a business as possible, which fulfills the intent of their search. This is why there is little to no control over choosing the photo that shown in the knowledge panel result, etc. The idea is a candid photo of the inside of the business (or of the team) is better than a staged professional photo because it gives a better idea of what the business is really like - and not just the image they the business wants to portray.

Requiring businesses to provide an equal opportunity to leave a review - whether positive, negative, or meh - does the same thing. The overall star rating and comments about the business will accurately reflect what a person might consistently experience at that business - which is actually what folks want to know when choosing a business.

In other words, Google's goal is to help the searcher find exactly what they are looking for - not to help businesses market themselves in a more flattering light. If you do good business, that will show - naturally. If your customer service is average, that should show as well. Yelp has much the same philosophy, and is even more strict in my opinion.

Does this help explain?
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,832
Review gating is seen as manipulation by Google. You are manipulating also but to such a small degree I wouldn't call it manipulating, I would call it persuasion. But review gating is purposefully misleading people into believing they are at the right place to leave a negative review when they are not.

That's Google's rationale anyway.
 

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