Why You Shouldn’t Pay for Online Reviews (and What to Do Instead)
In the age of social media, online reviews are more important than ever before. A quick Google search will show you that customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. And while it may be tempting to try and game the system by paying for positive reviews, there are a few reasons why you shouldn’t do this.
Paying for Reviews Is Deceptive
Let’s say you own a small ice cream shop in a town with only a handful of other businesses like yours. You’re struggling to get customers in the door, so you decide to pay someone to write a glowing review of your business on Local Trust Navigator. A potential customer reads the review and decides to give your shop a try. But when they get there, they find that the review was misleading. The ice cream isn’t as good as they were led to believe, and the service is terrible. They leave feeling disappointed and frustrated, and they’re unlikely to come back.
Paying for Reviews Can Get You in Trouble
In addition to being deceptive, paying for reviews can also get you into hot water with the sites where those reviews are posted. For example, our terms of service specifically prohibit businesses from offering incentives in exchange for reviews. If you’re caught violating this policy, your business could be suspended from the site entirely. And even if you’re not caught, customers will be able to tell that your reviews are fake, which will damage your reputation.
It Looks Suspicious
These days, potential customers are savvy enough to spot a fake review from a mile away. And when they see one, they automatically assume that all of your reviews are fake—even the ones that are real. That’s because fake reviews are often easy to spot, thanks to their overly positive language or lack of detail. So even if only a few of your reviews are purchased, they could still cause potential customers to second-guess doing business with you.
It’s Not Worth the Money
Finally, it’s important to remember that there’s no guarantee that paying for reviews will actually lead to more sales. In fact, it’s quite possible that you’ll waste a lot of money on something that has no impact on your bottom line. Wouldn’t you rather use that money to invest in other marketing efforts that have been proven to be effective? When you put it all together, it’s just not worth the risk or expense.
So What Can You Do Instead?
If you’re looking to improve your online presence and attract more customers, there are a few things you can do instead of paying for fake reviews.
First, make sure you’re actively encouraging customers to leave reviews. You can do this by including links to your profiles on popular review sites on your website and social media pages, or by sending follow-up emails after someone makes a purchase from you.
Second, take the time to respond to both positive and negative reviews. This shows potential customers that you care about what people are saying about your business. It also gives you an opportunity to address any concerns they may have.
Finally, if you do receive a negative review, don’t take it personally. Use it as an opportunity to improve your business. After all, even the best businesses receive negative reviews from time to time—it’s how you handle those reviews that really counts.
Encouraging customers to leave honest reviews of your business is a great way to build credibility and attract new customers. But resist the temptation to pay for fake positive reviews—it’s not worth it! Not only is it deceptive, but it can also get you into trouble with review sites like Yelp. So what should you do instead? Make sure you’re actively encouraging customers to leave reviews, take the time to respond thoughtfully to both positive and negative feedback, and use negative reviews as an opportunity to improve your business.