Is Gating Reviews Ok?
Review gating is against the terms and conditions of many review pages. However understanding the rules is important.
Situations When It Is Okay To Gate Reviews
Here are the situations when it is acceptable for your business to filter out which reviews are published:
1) When the review contains graphic material or inappropriate language.
If the review is inappropriate, contains explicit language or graphic material. Fortunately, many review sites are all over this, but if they happen to miss it, you can flag it as inappropriate.
2) When reviews are irrelevant to your business.
If a review doesn’t provide any mention or context to your business, products or services. Sometimes customers leave reviews but they really want to ask a question. If it really doesn’t add context as a review from a customer, it is okay to suppress that review.📷
3) When reviews are spammy or someone is plugging another business.
If a review isn’t related to your business but is obviously spam, or if a person starts talking about their business instead of you business. In the example below, the review was for a direct competitor and was a case of mistaken identity.
4) When the review is a fake or planted by a competitor (and your business knows it is).
In the case of review fraud, it is completely acceptable to suppress the review and remove it. In the example below, the person hasn’t ever been to the establishment, they just left a review that they read other reviews.
Unfortunately, reviews have been used as blackmail and this sort of unscrupulous behavior does occur. The fact that this behavior is on the rise speaks to the importance of practicing review management and using reputation management software. If you want help determining if a review is a fake or not, try the free Review Skeptic tool backed by research from Cornell University.
Again, Please Don’t Review-Stuff
The review above is an example of a business owner promoting his own business. There’s a lot of specific detail that even the most committed reviewer wouldn’t delve into. On top of that, the review is so long many people will probably just skim over.
How can your business practice white-hat review management?
Here’s how your business can practice white-hat review management:
Provide exceptional customer experiences
Ask your customer to leave a review (in-store signs, surveys, or with our custom review portal
Read and analyze the review. Does it meet the criterion to suppress or remove?
If yes, remove and you are done managing the review
If no, the review stays published
Respond to the review
If the review is positive, thank them for their feedback
If the review is negative, try to move the conversation offline. Try to remedy the situation to win the customer back. If you have remedied the situation, try asking them to adjust their review. If not, then at least the customer may come back.