Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of why you shouldn’t review your own company online, let’s first lay some groundwork. You already know that the reputation of your company should be one of your top priorities and that online reviews are extremely important for your business.
Review sites like Google and Yelp are where potential customers go to get an understanding of what your company is all about and what others have to say about you. Nearly 80% of consumers rely on online reviews before making a purchase or choosing a service which means that it's vital that your online reputation is glowing.
In the fierce game of online business, there’s a lot of pressure on your company to distinguish itself from other competitors. This is a brave, new online world we’re living in and trust us, we totally understand why you want and need those 5-star ratings on your business page. We can understand why you would be tempted to give yourself an amazing review or five. But you can’t do it. You just can’t review your own company online and get away with it. We’re begging you...just say NO.
For starters, there are strict policies against reviewing your own company online. Both Google and Yelp consider it a conflict of interest.
Google: Reviews are most valuable when they are honest and unbiased. If you own or work at a place, please don’t review your own business or employer.
Yelp: Your contributions should be unbiased and objective. For example, you shouldn’t write reviews of your own business or employer, your friends’ or relatives’ business, your peers or competitors in your industry, or businesses in your networking group.
Most people label these kinds of reviews as “fake reviews,” and in the same way that we don’t support fake news, we really don’t support fake reviews.
Some Examples of Fake Reviews are as Follows:
- YOU, the business owner writing a review for your own company.
- Asking someone (a non-customer) to write a review for your business.
- Paying someone to review your company online.
- Requesting that another franchise owner write a review for your business.
- Having one of your employees post a review for your company.
- Creating a fake profile for the purpose of reviewing your own business as a “happy customer.”
Are you sensing a theme here? The very reason that online reviews exist is for potential clients to get an honest and impartial view of your company and how you treat your customers. The key word here is customer. The only people who should ever review your company are those who have actually done business with your company.
If ethics alone aren’t enough to stop you, consider the fact that it is actually ILLEGAL to write fake reviews. That’s right - it’s against the law and you can actually be sued for posting fake reviews.
The term for this unethical practice is astroturfing. Loosely translated, atroturfing is the act of trying to boost one's image online with fake comments, paid-for reviews, made-up claims and testimonials. It is the attempt to create an impression of widespread grassroots support for a product, policy, or individual where little such support exists.
Last year, Amazon sued 1,000 fake reviewers, saying in the lawsuit that its brand reputation was being tarnished by “false, misleading and inauthentic” reviews. And take a look at this Yelp article about how the New York Attorney General took action against several businesses that tried to mislead consumers with fake, paid-for reviews. Even Google is on board using a program called Fakespot that can identify fake reviewers.
There are ways for your company to garner legitimate reviews online for your business. For starters, here’s a great tip:
Remember, WebPunch can help you generate, respond to and monitor your online reviews. We work with your clients to help sculpt the message that your future customers will evaluate.
Please take our advice and JUST SAY NO to reviewing your own company online. You really don’t want to tarnish the reputation and integrity of your business. All you really need to do is provide excellent products and services and you’ll have clients lining up to review your company! That’s what you want: good, honest, glowing reviews that reveal what a wonderful company you are. Now that’s something you can say YES to!