Keira 16 Jun, 2021 Review 0 Comments

3 Crucial Reasons Why Paying For Online Reviews Is A Bad Idea

In the 21st century, online reviews form an integral part of business marketing. From everything ranging from entertainment to professional work, an online aspect tends to make things easier or convenient.

This turns out to be true, especially when it comes to shopping. According to a recent survey, 84 % of consumers trust online reviews as much as they rely on personal recommendations. Again, 74% of consumers claim that reading positive reviews of a local business makes them trust the organization more.

It is true that online sites like ConsumerAffairs, Yelp, and TripAdvisor, and forums like Amazon and Reddit, have made making a wise purchasing decision that much easier. So, why do these sites feel the need to pay consumers for review insights?

Most businesses generally aim for a score higher than four when getting online reviews from customers. Perfect scores are not ideal as it’s almost unbelievable that a business has never had a dissatisfied customer or visitor. However, offering customers or third parties money for brilliant reviews is a practice fraught with legal and ethical issues. Certain shady businesses might employ this tactic; however, it’s advisable to refrain from paying for reviews completely.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the crucial reasons why incentivizing online reviews is an incredibly bad idea-

1. Paid Reviews Get Caught Easily

If you are someone who is tempted to pay for online reviews to boost the presence of your business on popular review sites or social media, you may want to start reconsidering it. The companies that run these sites are some of the wealthiest in the world. They have incredibly capable programmers.  They are always designing algorithms that can determine fake reviews on their site.

These algorithms can pick up linguistic similarities in reviews across the site, so if an author is publishing paid-for reviews in numerous locations, site administrators can look out for them. If numerous reviews are coming from one IP address, these algorithms also take note of the user.  

Posting illegitimate reviews could also end up with your company being banned or penalized from key search engines and directories.

2. It Ruins Reputations

Even if you avoid getting penalized or prosecuted for posting fake positive or negative reviews, it can still deal with serious reputation damage. Although review platforms are meant to promote local businesses, they are also capable of punishing those who break the ethical standards set forth by their site runners.

Like in the case of Yelp, their administrators create a ‘consumer alert’ banner and feature on your business page on its site. This is especially if it finds any infraction,  such as soliciting reviews. The banner remains in place for ninety days, discouraging consumers from looking out for your business and advertising unethical behavior.

3. It Becomes A Legal Liability

The third reason why you should never incentivize reviews for your business is the potential for your business to be legally prosecuted and fined for publishing fake reviews to the public. This legal liability happens to be the primary reason why review sites are becoming excessively vigilant in keeping false consumer reviews off their platforms.

The FTC or the Federal Trade Commission happens to be the consumer watchdog. One of its main responsibilities is to rid the marketplace of deceptive or unfair marketing. If it can evaluate your business as the one that pays actively for the reviews, then it can take you to court and issue fines. Your company should never reach the point of having to deal with FTC.

Thus, the most remarkable course of action is to stay away from the reputation damage, online obstacles, and legal complications by never paying for consumer reviews.

It’s Always Better To Be Safe Than Sorry

Truth be said, there’s no guarantee that trading discounts or providing incentives for writing positive reviews will only have negative consequences, but there are numerous ways that this choice can go horribly wrong.

There always remains a better alternative way to get the positive reviews you deserve. Go through this blog post diligently and think twice before paying for fake online positive reviews next time. Here’s wishing you will make only an informed choice in the future!

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Keira is a PhD expert with a specialization in Communication, Cultural & Media Studies from a prestigious university. Having been scammed by online academic writing services as a PhD student, Keira took up the responsibility of weeding out the scammers. When she is not busy stalking these money mongers, you can find her travelling to the most bizarre destinations or breathing life into her crazy imagination, on her canvas.