by Paul Cardis
Google is now the hammer for those companies wishing to mask their true star ratings in public websites. Google explicitly states that if you are suppressing or gating (filtering) your negative customers away from taking a survey with your company, you can be banned entirely from Google My Business. This threat is the equivalent of being banned from Google because no longer will your company rank highly nor will it have the full representation of your company profile compared to your competitors.
Research providers who are offering “review gating” services (Avid Ratings prohibits this behavior) are now shutting down their services for fear of being sued by their clients for getting them banned from Google My Business. Just this week alone several popular survey providers and reputation management companies have notified their clients that the review gating portion of their service is no longer available. Unfortunately, some of the smaller homebuilding review management providers have not become aware of this change and are effectively putting their clients in harm’s way. Builder beware… Avid has been warning companies for many years of the impact of filtering reviews would have on their business. There are no legal shortcuts to simply improving your organization and delivering an exceptional customer experience.
We are proud to have assisted Speaker Paul Ryan in the passage of The Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA) which passed in December 2016. It, unfortunately, has taken until April 2018 for the world to take notice of this new law and position themselves accordingly. We are grateful to Google for recognizing this law and enforcing it with its review gating prohibition on its search platform – the largest search platform in the world.