More threads by steviephil

steviephil

Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2019
Messages
31
Reaction score
3
Hi folks. I was browsing a client's competitor's 1-star reviews on one of their Google Business Profile listings and found someone say they left a 5-star review initially because the company promised them a discount if they initially left a positive review.

I know that incentivizing reviews is against GBP's guidelines: "It's important to note that offering incentives for customers to leave reviews, such as a discount or gift, is strictly against Google policy and can result in the business losing all of their reviews" (source).

The business in question has 13 GBP listings (for its 13 locations) and I've found evidence of 7 reviews across 5 of those locations where people have said - as part of the review's text - that they only left a review in return for a discount.

Is there a way I can report this to Google and for them to take action? If so, what's the best method please?

I found this old post (2021) suggesting that there's no proper way to report it, and even if you do, Google probably won't care / won't take action. Is that true and still the case today? I thought I'd check just in case the situation's changes in recent months/years.

In the meantime I've tweeted @GoogleMyBiz, as I saw someone say that that can be a good way to get them to notice (although whether or not they'll then act is anybody's guess, I guess)... 🤷‍♂️

Thanks in advance!
 
Not sure that is strong enough. Otherwise, it would be easy to spam reviews with similar language and then have the listing taken down - all by the same people :)
 
Not sure that is strong enough. Otherwise, it would be easy to spam reviews with similar language and then have the listing taken down - all by the same people :)

Thanks for the reply (I've been sick the last few days, hence my delayed reply).

That's true and fair - sort of like a 'negative SEO' tactic, but with Google reviews instead of links.

With that in mind, what would be strong enough? It's a bit of a drastic solution, but I've even considered becoming a customer of the company (at their lowest price / shortest duration), just so I can see if I get an email sent by them asking for the review in return for the discount. But even if I had that, how could I report it to Google? Obviously I don't want to go to that effort (and spend money) if there's no chance of getting anywhere with it, but I'd be willing to do it if there'd then be a way to report it to Google.
 
@steviephil, the strongest weakling of the bunch is the "Conflict of interest" option, which you see when you report a specific review. I've had a little success with that. You'll just need to go door to door, reporting each shady review on each GMB page. Google probably won't remove all of the bathwater, let alone the baby and the bathwater. I've never seen Google actually remove all of a business's reviews like that.

P.S. I read Anti-Sell a few months ago. Excellent work!
 
@steviephil, the strongest weakling of the bunch is the "Conflict of interest" option, which you see when you report a specific review. I've had a little success with that. You'll just need to go door to door, reporting each shady review on each GMB page. Google probably won't remove all of the bathwater, let alone the baby and the bathwater. I've never seen Google actually remove all of a business's reviews like that.

P.S. I read Anti-Sell a few months ago. Excellent work!

Thanks Phil, I appreciate the reply.

Yeah, I used the CoI option on most of them - I went with Off-Topic with one (where it said the person hadn't even used the service - they were just leaving the review in order to get the discount), but went with CoI on the rest.

I reported all 7 applicable reviews (across 5 listings/locations), one after the other. Hopefully Google gets the hint, but I'm worried they'll just ignore it or just remove the reviews without taking any further action (and if they do remove the reviews, they're potentially doing the offending business a favour, as most of the affected reviews are 1- or 2-star, so it'll bump their average ratings up). Oh well. I'll keep an eye on it. I might blog about it on SEOno if there's no success.

Thanks for the kind words about Anti-Sell! 😍 If you haven't done so already then I'd appreciate a review from wherever you got it from and/or one on Goodreads (if you use that - no worries if not). Cheers!
 

Login / Register

Already a member?   LOG IN
Not a member yet?   REGISTER

LocalU Event

LocalU - Sold Out

  Promoted Posts

New advertising option: A review of your product or service posted by a Sterling Sky employee. This will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters. More...
Top Bottom