Websites like Yelp and Google may hide or delete reviews they think violate their terms of service, which typically forbid incentivizing reviews with payment, gifts, or other benefits. Violating a website’s terms of service could also get your page deleted.
What you can do
- Use signage and branding available from the website where you collect reviews
- Provide links to profiles on review websites
- In the course of a transaction, remind clients where you collect reviews or recommendations.
Recently, Yelp stated that asking your customers for reviews is a violation of its terms of service and could hurt your business’s rating. The software Yelp uses to recommend reviews, which determines if they’re visible or listed first, avoids reviews that appear to be solicited. Yelp’s guidelines warn against soliciting mailing lists for reviews, running surveys that ask for reviews, or having staff compete to collect reviews.
Not all websites are as strict as Yelp about reviews, but reviews are supposed to be honest and unbiased. Pushing clients, family, or friends to write excessively flattering reviews could bring your page the wrong kind of attention.
For most review websites, such as Google and Facebook, it’s acceptable at the end of a transaction to remind clients where they can review your services and provide a link. Websites also encourage businesses to engage with reviewers, showing that you monitor feedback and take it seriously. Using signage or branding provided by a website can help show off your positive reviews to potential clients as well as reminding past clients where to post their own feedback.
Do you use realtor.com?
If you’ve set up a free professional account at realtor.com, you can request ratings and reviews from verified clients directly through the website. You can also add recommendations written by friends, family, and colleagues to your profile. Find more information and instructions on how to edit your profile at support.realtor.com.
The main thing to keep in mind when encouraging reviews is to make your appeal in the normal course of a transaction and in a way that does not try to influence the content. Beyond terms of service and website policies, most potential clients can tell if something doesn’t ring true about your online reviews.