Google’s New Terms of Services Impacts How You Ask For Reviews

On Thursday, April 12th, 2018 Google updated their Terms of Service (TOS) for online reviews. The refreshed TOS indicates that all requests for online reviews from customers must be unbiased.

“Don’t discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.”

What Does This Mean For Businesses?

For business owners it means that when you are encouraging all customers to leave online reviews, and all potential reviewers are being funneled through the same feedback/review channel; you cannot “review gate” the options, and redirect the reviewer based on positive versus negative feedback response.

If your business uses a review platform, then the email templates you are sending out will need to be updated to reflect these guidelines and not redirect customers that have a negative experience to a private feedback form.

Mike Blumenthal and David Mihm discuss in detail what this means for SMB’s, agencies, and vendors in this Street Fight article. One point that David Mihm makes, and that we also feel is important for businesses to remember “…is that small businesses shouldn’t fear asking every customer for a review given that so many are naturally going to be positive. And if you are afraid of asking, it probably indicates a larger problem in your business that you should fix before worrying about your local SEO.”

How This Update Impacts the Reputation Builder

What this means for users of the Reputation Builder is that our request funnels for the Ultimate Mode and Review Mode have been updated to comply with the new TOS. Direct Mode was already in compliance, prior to the change. The update is provided for Legacy Mode as well, but we strongly recommend you switching to one of our new modes.

As a result, you will notice a step after the Negative Landing Page that shows negative customers the same online review links as a positive customer.

A customer that scores the Net Promoter Score question below your feedback threshold setting will still get the Negative Landing Page and apology content, and once they complete that form, they will be shown 3rd-party online review links.

A customer that scores the Net Promoter Score question below your feedback threshold setting will still get the Negative Landing Page and apology content, and once they complete that form, they will be shown 3rd-party online review links.

The Review Industry

We are pleased there is now a clearly stated guideline on the process of requesting reviews by Google. Our commitment is to provide our service in compliance with the major review sites, and never put your content or business at risk. We anticipate that the review industry will have more changes in the short and midterm based on its growth and importance to consumers and businesses.

AUTHOR

Darren Shaw

Darren Shaw founded Whitespark in 2005. The company specialized in web design and development, however, Darren's passion and curiosity for all things local search led Whitespark to focus primarily on local SEO in 2010 with the launch of the Local Citation Finder, followed by the Local Rank Tracker.

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2 comments on “Google’s New Terms of Services Impacts How You Ask For Reviews

  • I think negative reviews can be a good thing if responded to properly. Too many people fear the negative review but more and more people actually read reviews now so quality responses are vital. I have seen many customers gained due to negative reviews and quality responses. Often said new customer is a “better” customer than someone who just shows up because the business had high ratings.

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