Why Buying Google Reviews is a Terrible Idea
As a business owner, customers leaving good reviews on your venture is something to aim for. Not only are positive reviews good for business, but they can also do wonders for your confidence as a business owner.
The exact opposite is true about negative reviews. It doesn’t matter if your store or restaurant is highly visible on Google Maps if the general reception for it averages a one- or two-star rating.
A positive public opinion can set your business up for success, so what do you do if people don’t like it?
There are some business owners who’d rather just buy Google reviews to improve their online reputation. It’s a quick and relatively cheap way to sway the public’s opinion in your favor, and it’s not hard to see why some would consider this a good solution. After all, it’s just like buying online ads but with extra steps.
Now, if you’re wondering how to get Google reviews this way, here’s our advice: don’t.
What most people don’t realize is that buying Google reviews is a horrible way to generate interest in your business and this is why.
Despite how common review buying is, it’s actually illegal for businesses to showcase fake or paid endorsements. According to the FTC, any paid endorsement is considered deceptive if it makes false or misleading claims.
This includes paid Google reviews if their contents are falsified. A one-star restaurant will still serve one-star-quality food regardless of how “good” its reviews are.
Additionally, Google’s guidelines prohibit the propagation of fake content. It is clearly stated that all “all content should reflect [the customer’s] genuine experience” and shouldn’t simply be made for the sake of improving ratings.
Now you might be wondering if people can really tell if reviews are fake. The answer is yes, they can, which brings us to our next point.
It’s Deceptively Expensive
Back in 2013, the New York Attorney General launched a sting operation called “Operation Clean Turf” that targeted fake ads and testimonies across several online platforms, including Yelp, Citysearch, and Google.
The operation resulted in 19 different companies being charged over $350,000 in penalties for posting fake reviews.
Fake reviews aren’t that expensive; they only cost about $10 a piece. Even if all the positive reviews net you a decent profit, you’ll still end up losing significantly more money when your fake reviews are detected.
When you get fined for violating the guidelines as set by Google and the FTC, you’re going to lose something more important than just money: your reputation.
Earn Reviews the Right Way
You’ll only make a bad situation worse if you buy Google business reviews. If you want to genuinely boost your reputation, then there are plenty of other ways to do so.
The most straightforward way is to simply ask your customers for feedback. Getting honest testimonials from actual customers is much better than buying fake reviews. Not only will it spare you from legal repercussions, but it’ll also let you know exactly what areas in your business need improvement or what you need to do to keep your momentum up.
You can ask for reviews through a number of ways. A review management platform such as the one that Reviews911 offers is a great way to find customers who are willing to leave feedback, for example. It also lets you monitor your business’s performance in terms of the reviews it’s getting.
Other methods include a rewards system to encourage customers to leave honest reviews. Contacting them via e-mail is another viable option.
Businesses do not just improve overnight. Once you earn the sincere patronage of your customers, success will soon follow.