Yelp: You Can’t Ask Customers for Reviews
November 20, 2017
Yelp is beefing up its policies and explicitly discouraging users from soliciting customer reviews—a practice that, in some cases, may be illegal. Most online review platforms ban users from paying customers or encouraging employees and relatives to submit company reviews. But Yelp’s guidelines go a step further, limiting any direct attempt by a business to encourage reviews from its customers. The guidelines state:
- Don’t ask customers, mailing list subscribers, friends, family, or anyone else to review your business.
- Don’t ask your staff to compete to collect reviews.
- Don’t run surveys that ask for reviews from customers reporting positive experiences.
- Don’t ever offer freebies, discounts, or payment in exchange for reviews. It will turn off savvy consumers, and may also be illegal.
Yelp reportedly has been emailing violators about “review solicitation.” One email, which was sent to a company deemed in violation, included a link to Yelp’s policy and warned that soliciting reviews for clients is an “illicit tactic” that results in “harming consumers, other businesses, and the overall review ecosystem,” according to Fobes.com. In the email, Yelp also threatened to demote the company’s standing in its search results if it continued to solicit reviews.
How can you encourage reviews without directly asking for them? Forbes.com recommends promoting Yelp with stickers and telling customers that you’re on Yelp and other review sites, instead of specifically requesting reviews.
Source: “Yelp Cracks Down on Review Solicitation: What It Means for Your Business,” Forbes.com (Nov. 17, 2017)
Updated: May 18, 2019