In so many areas of life, we’re taught that money can buy us anything we want. One thing it can’t buy, however, is a falsified positive reputation. While it may occasionally feel tempting to buy Yelp reviews for your company’s page, it’s just not worth it.
Many negative things can stem from the decision to buy Yelp reviews. For starters, the reviews are rarely convincing and often seem blatantly untrue. There’s also the fact that, of course, buying reviews is ethically questionable. In addition, those reviews will likely never be seen by customers. Even if those reviews are seen, they could still lead to some serious punishment by Yelp.
In fact, in an effort to improve your company’s reputation via dishonest means, you could actually harm it.
Yelp takes paying for reviews very seriously.
Yelp has serious policies against paying for reviews. Other review platforms have been known similar policies, but Yelp is most perhaps the best at efficiently implementing theirs. Yelp has complex systems in place for detecting fraudulent reviews. The site also takes paying for reviews more seriously than most other platforms, and the consequences can be major.
Paying for reviews is never a great idea, but it’s especially risky when it comes to Yelp. The platform implements a series of algorithms and human assessment to catch fake reviews. Even if you buy Yelp reviews that appear to be real, Yelp has a pretty good approach for catching you in the act.
A telltale sign that a Yelp review could be paid for is if it comes from a new or strange-looking Yelp account with very few other reviews. However, Yelp is excellent at sleuthing out false reviews even from accounts that appear to be legitimate.
Yelp is very good at detecting false reviews and any other negative behavior.
Yelp also takes things a step further by assessing other parts of the internet for ads taken out by companies offering to pay for positive reviews. The platform has a special team for this purpose. That team spends time analyzing online message boards, classified, and the Yelp platform. In fact, Yelp sometimes even removes genuine positive reviews that make them question, because the platform prefers to err on the side of caution. While the ethical murkiness of choosing to buy Yelp reviews is reason enough to avoid it, Yelp’s detection system comes in at a close second.
Yelp is one of the most trusted review sites out there, and this is because it stops at nothing to ensure that customers receive honesty. The site will do whatever it takes to keep that trust—and that’s one reason why getting genuine positive reviews on the site is so valuable.
There’s also another downside to choosing to buy Yelp reviews: there’s a chance you could run into trouble with the Federal Trade Commission. The risks simply aren’t worth the very few potential rewards.
If you get caught, it can destroy customers’ trust.
Often, a review you pay for will be caught and removed before it even makes it live onto your company’s Yelp page. In some cases, it may be live for just a very short time before it is removed. In situations like this, it’s an inconvenient waste of the money you paid for those reviews. Of course, that’s certainly better than the alternative, in which Yelp might publicly call out your business for attempting to publish false reviews.
Yelp’s Consumer Alerts program was created to keep customers in the loop when a business tries to pull sketchy moves that violate their trust. If you’re caught trying to buy Yelp reviews, you’ll likely end up with a big banner on your page saying as much.
If the banner is posted, customers who visit your company’s Yelp page will see it each time they click over. The large banner will warn customers that Yelp doesn’t necessarily trust your business. From then on, you can bet that they’ll take your reviews with a grain of salt.
The banner will stay up for a minimum of three months, which leaves a lot of time for customers to see it. You could end up with thousands of distrusting customers. You’d likely even lose some potential loyal customers in the process.
The key to success on Yelp is to earn your reviews. Seek out reviews from genuine customers who had a truly positive experience with your business. Customers who had a positive experience will likely be all too happy to leave a review.
Your reviews matter on more platform than one.
Of course, there are other important platforms to consider as well. It’s also valuable to have positive reviews on sites like Facebook, TripAdvisor, and Google. In fact, positive Google reviews can be one of the most important stepping stones to success.
Any potential customer who does a Google search for services like yours in their area could stumble upon your Google reviews. The more Google reviews you have—even if they are not all positive—the more likely you are to show up in search results. Thus, Google reviews do more than just make your business look awesome. They also help customers who could benefit from your business to find you. It’s a win-win!
Not surprisingly, Google also considers purchased reviews to be a big no-no. Just like choosing to buy Yelp reviews, purchasing a Google review is against guidelines. The Federal Trade Commission doesn’t approve of it either.
Just like Yelp, Google has a system for detecting false reviews, but it handles those findings differently. Rather than the banner approach that Yelp often takes, Google goes another route. Instead of a banner, Google often simply deletes purchased reviews. Google removes spam, purchased reviews, and offensive posts.
Above all, be honest.
No matter what platform you consider, what matters most is to get reviews that are real. Genuine reviews go the extra mile. Honest reviews help you to avoid violating the trust of your customers. They also build a better connection with potential customers. They can also be surprisingly simple to get, if you’re efficient about how you ask. (As long as you’re following each platform’s rules.)
Instead of directing your budget toward buying Yelp reviews, put it toward a system that helps to streamline your review requests. Many business owners struggle with where to start when it comes to requesting reviews. Some companies post flyers or signs in their establishment. Others send out emails requesting reviews. Sometimes, these types of requests can just confuse customers who don’t know how to use review platforms.
This is when a system like AutoPilot Reviews can be a game changer. AutoPilot Reviews offers customers a clear, straightforward way to quickly fill out surveys. This can help increase your Yelp and Google reviews and skyrocket your company’s online reputation.
When you use a platform like AutoPilot Reviews, you can say goodbye to awkward review request conversations. You can also increase your presence online. The best part? You’ll have earned each and every one of those reviews. Nothing feels more satisfying than that.