Between various business review websites and social media websites hiding certain reviews of your business, and the fact that anyone can write a review (whether you actually did business with them or not) of your business, I thought I would share a few reasons why you should collect reviews on your own website, instead of theirs.
Holding Reviews Hostage:
I first noticed Yelp hiding positive reviews of my business, written by my customers, in 2014. Shortly after that, I got a phone call from a Yelp representative basically asking for money. I put 2 and 2 together and realized that they were holding my positive reviews hostage until I paid them. That same year, a client of mine said he got a similar call from Yelp.
In 2017, I noticed the Yelp star status of a client of mine go from 5 stars to 2.5. I learned that my client was paying Yelp, then quit paying them, so Yelp hid some of their reviews.
More recently, another client of mine saw their FaceBook reviews get removed, for no apparent reason. FaceBook also did this to me.
Fake Negative Reviews:
I’ve also been the victim of fake negative reviews.
In 2016, I finished-up a major e-commerce website overhaul for Global Seafoods North America. While building their new website, I slowly realized that I was being scammed. Sure enough, when the website was done, they left negative reviews with false claims on Yelp, FaceBook, Google, RipOffReport.com
In September of 2016, Diana D. of Kirkland Washington left me a negative review on Yelp. I’ve never heard of Diana D., nor have we ever worked together. After a little research, I learned that Diana D. is friends with Nikolay Nikitenko of Global Seafoods. They were just trying to make me look bad. I suspect Nikolay Nikitenko logged-in to Diana D.’s Yelp account and posted the fake review. If I hadn’t reported it to Yelp, would Yelp have removed it? Probably not.
A couple clients of mine also fell victim to false reviews. Upon a little research, I learned that the person that left a negative review for one of my clients, just left a bunch of negative reviews of businesses around town.
All reviews removed!
Just this year (2018) I got a notification from FaceBook stating that they removed all of my reviews on FaceBook. They said it was because of a category change I had made. I had made a category change, but some of the reviews still applied.
Why collect reviews on your own website?
My point is, when other websites, such as Yelp, Google or FaceBook are in control of your ratings and reviews, they can do whatever they want, whether it’s accept fake reviews, hide your positive reviews, remove all of your reviews or hold any of them hostage.
So, how do you get reviews on your own website?
Because most websites these days are built using WordPress, you can find several reviews and ratings plug-ins on wordpress.org. Personally, I’ve researched a few and found the Site Reviews plug-in pretty good. It’s getting good reviews, is updated frequently and is well supported. Once you have the plug-in stalled, you can display a form on a page that will allow your customers to submit reviews and star ratings. The plug-in also displays the testimonials and ratings on your website.