ALERT: Filtering your reviews is now “illegal”

Ever asked friends or family to post a positive review for your business?

Ever avoid showing a 1-star review on your home page plugin?

If so, you need to know that it’s  now illegal under UK law.”

Many “review management” programs promise great things like “Boost your 5 star reviews - automatically” or “Get alerted to what people say about you online”.

Mainly, they offer the ability to automatically prompt clients to leave a review.

YESpbm explains why you should delete review site plug-in’s from your site
YESpbm explains why you should delete review site plug-in’s from your site

Many review sites offer plugins allowing you to display reviews automatically, on your home page. The theory being that hundreds of great reviews come flooding in and build “social proof” for those trawling your site.

It’s a good theory. But it can be flawed.

YESpbm has long advised its clients that automated review plug-ins on your home page can be a very bad idea.  Here’s why… 

You need to prompt your HAPPY clients to leave a great review - not everyone. Obviously we can’t please everyone all the time.

These review apps and sites (like TrustPilot) are indiscriminate in who they encourage to chat about you online, and worse, often act as data gathering tools for their owners (and those they sell the data to).

In a bid to get around the issue of bad reviews appearing on a clients’ home page, many of these “review management systems” allow their reviews to be ”filtered”. A questionable practice employed by a wide range of marketers, often on a global scale and for large international brands.

This practice, and more, is now finally illegal in the UK. And marketers are worried.

Following the law change, if you choose to have a plug-in on your home page from a review site (TrustPilot for example), everyone that visits your page will see the good,

the bad and the downright nasty. Live and unfiltered. True - or false. Often before you do.

So who in their right mind would keep using these products?

Plug-in’s that display reviews on your homepage are now more dangerous than ever - it’s illegal to filter them
Plug-in’s that display reviews on your homepage are now more dangerous than ever - it’s illegal to filter them

Our advice: Delete review plug-in’s - NOW.

Nobody enjoys receiving a negative online review. The terrible feeling you get when you see a one or two out of five-star rating, or a harsh comment from an unhappy patient can hurt feelings and your professional brand.

Negative reviews can be painful, both emotionally and financially.

There's no getting around it: bad reviews are bound to happen.

Seeing a patient express negative and often nasty things about your practice on Google, Trustpilot, RateMds, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, is a bummer.

We all work hard to make our customers happy, so when one of them chooses to vent online it can be difficult to deal with. Especially if the review is fake, posted by a disgruntled employee or competitor.

The UK has proposed new rules making fake reviews of goods illegal. Perhaps they should go further. Fake reviews are not the only way companies are skewing buyer perception.

Regulators are now trying to clear the muddy waters around online reviews. It’s an important job, and it’s long overdue.

The problem with automatic review posting

Google has no way of knowing who your real customers are, and they allow users to use anonymous usernames.

Nevertheless, they won't accept "this wasn't a real customer" as a reason to remove a review, and it's extremely difficult to prove someone's identity online is fake, or that they’ve never engaged with your brand or business.

Why then would you want that review displayed on your homepage, or broadcast to your client base?

So why are online reviews so important?

Around 89% of consumers say they check reviews before purchasing online. Reviews are an important part of the purchasing process. Most businesses post customer reviews alongside their product listings to help customers make better judgments. - findstack

Key Online Review Statistics

  • 72% of customers say they use Google reviews to find businesses.

  • 67% of local companies maintain a four-star review or higher.

  • 34% of shoppers say they always read online reviews.

  • 94% of customers have avoided a business due to a negative review.

  • Businesses with a minimum of 200 reviews generate twice as much revenue.

  • Customers are 21% more likely to leave a review after a negative experience.

According to research, 90% of online reviews by customers have an impact. The numbers can’t be ignored!

Benjamin Franklin once said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”

Don’t let one negative review ruin your Online Reputation. Be proactive, and personal with your review strategy.

Negative reviews aren’t all bad though

Believe it or not, getting nothing but excellent reviews shouldn’t be your goal.