When people are shopping online, they often check the reviews of their potential purchase. These reviews help customers determine whether or not to trust a business with their hard-earned cash.

But what happens when these reviews aren’t shown to the public? Some businesses, usually those with negative reviews, use review gating to hide these comments from everyone but the reviewer and the business owner or representative.

In this article, we’ll discuss what review gating is, why it should be avoided, and where you can find alternative solutions to rapidly improving your company's online reputation.

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What is Review Gating

Review gating is a process that some businesses use to either rapidly improve online reputation while hiding any negative customer feedback from the public. This process takes place in two simple steps.

Step 1:

A business will ask a customer, in person or through Email/SMS, if they had a positive experience or negative experience during their visit.

Step 2:

Customers who replied that their experience was positive will receive a review request, in other words, to leave an online review on a public platform such as Google or Yelp.

Customers who were unhappy with their experience receive a form to discuss their frustrations, which will be kept confidential and out of public view. Therefore having zero impact on the company’s online reputation.

It should be noted that review gating also includes “suppressing” negative reviews. Some businesses and reputation management platforms have done this by creating unique survey paths based on survey responses, as mentioned above.

What are the risks for businesses that gate reviews?

Risks for your Online Reputation:

The chief concern is that Google actively searches for businesses that gate reviews and will completely remove all online reviews on your Google listings.

The removal of your online reviews will decimate your online reputation while leaving you with immense amounts of work to generate new reviews.

Financial Risks:

In early 2022, the Federal Trade Commission fined a business $4.2 million for “review gating” and suppressing negative online reviews left by unhappy customers.

This recent fine clearly demonstrates the severity of penalties that businesses face when trying to control their online reputation.

What are best practices for generating online reviews?

We highly recommend requesting feedback from customers to measure customer satisfaction. However, there should be zero bias in requesting reviews from your customers, even if they were unhappy with their visit.

While it’s understandable for businesses to be nervous about a few negative reviews on their business listings, the truth is that they won’t hurt your business if you are committed to an online review strategy.

How can you reduce the impact of negative reviews?

One way to minimize the effect of a negative review is by responding to it as soon as possible to remedy the situation. This shows potential customers, who are looking at your reviews, that you care about the customer on an individual level.

Additionally, review quantity plays an important role. Businesses that have accrued more reviews than the industry average actually earn 82% more in annual revenue compared to businesses with fewer reviews than the industry average.

How can you earn more revenue from your online reviews?

  1. XAmplifier software discovers where online reviews are most valuable and generates more traffic from key platforms organically.

  2. XAmplifier utilizes proprietary algorithms that drive 10x more online reviews to the business listings for every location of your organization.

  3. Within the XAmplifier dashboard, your staff can easily manage and respond to every online review from any review platform (Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.) in one dashboard.

Get 10x more reviews with XAmplifier.  Start your trial today

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