This week, Google made an important step in protecting the trust we have in online reviews. Moving forward, to remain in compliance with Google’s policy, companies may not “discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.” This gets to the heart of what is commonly known as review gating.
Review gating is a process where companies send a message to customers asking if their experience was positive or negative. For those who indicate they have had a positive experience, they are directed to leave an online review. For those who have a negative experience, they are typically sent to a form to leave comments that will never be made public. The end result is a collection of online reviews that are artificially positive and not representative of the actual customer experience.
As a company, Podium has been at the forefront against review gating. Over a year ago, we wrote a guide on how we maintain consumer trust by eliminating gating. We’ve designed all our products to remove bias and give both business owners and consumers the most accurate representation of experience possible. We have also evolved our platform beyond simply collecting reviews to powering convenient and informed interactions throughout the entire customer experience.
Online reviews are only as valuable as they are trusted. While other companies scramble to adjust their products to comply with Google’s new policy, Podium customers can trust that their reviews have always been earned and are reflective of their customer’s experience without relying on practices like gating or filtering.
We applaud Google for making trust in reviews a priority and protecting the review ecosystem. When it works correctly, reviews benefit everyone from the business to the consumer. Businesses gain invaluable feedback through the experiences customers share in their reviews and enjoy the credit for the hard work they do on behalf of their customers. Consumers have a powerful tool they can trust to make better buying decisions. Everyone wins.
Trust is one of the most important elements of business transactions. We remain committed to protecting that trust and we are proud to be working with companies like Google who share that vision.