Some of your customers, clients, or patients might only review you if they don’t have to reveal their names in the review. Why?
- They might be embarrassed about the problem that caused them to come to you.
- They might need privacy to give you honest and complete feedback.
- Maybe they just wear tin-foil hats.
You need to know about the more-private review sites for at least three reasons:
(1) So you know where to point would-be reviewers who are concerned about privacy. You still want reviews from those people.
(2) So you can encourage reviews without running afoul of any regulations in your industry – especially if you’re a doctor or lawyer.
(3) So you know where to look for negative reviews that people may have posted anonymously.
Besides finicky Google+ and Yelp, most review sites offer some anonymity. Possible reviewers need to know you don’t want “Google or Yelp or nothing.” You want reviews on other sites anyway – especially if they’re influential in your industry.
Here’s a breakdown of 17 prominent sites that allow private or anonymous reviews – and exactly how private each site is:
(click to enlarge – it’s a big PDF file, so give it a second to crunch)
A few notes
My goal for this was to mention least one private / anonymous site that you can encourage reviews on, no matter what your industry is.
That’s why I have some sites that may seem “niche” – like WeddingWire and Zillow. WeddingWire isn’t just for dressmakers and cake-bakers; you can also be listed and get reviews there if you’re a photographer, jeweler, florist, or DJ. Likewise, Zillow isn’t just for real-estate agents; you can get reviews there if you’re a roofer or landscaper (for example).
I didn’t want to dwell on one industry. That’s why you won’t see more than a couple examples of private / anonymous sites for a given industry.
Even if there’s not a review site that’s specific to your field, you’ve still got Angie’s List, CitySearch, InsiderPages, Yahoo, and YP. It’s good to get a smattering of reviews at those places anyway.
When I say a “real name” is required, I’m referring only to the rules / preferences of a given site. It may have no way to tell a reviewer’s real name from an alias. I doubt Sarah B. would get in any hot water if she created an account as or wrote a review as Penny O. Make sure your customers know that.
This list is US-specific. I’m guessing the equivalent of YellowPages in other countries – YellowPages.ca, PagesJaunes.fr, PaginasAmarillas.com, etc. – allow private reviews. I’d be curious to learn about other sites.
Last but not least, huge thanks to design whiz David Deering for putting together the “Top Secret” report. I suggest you check out his offerings.
What’s a private / anonymous review site you think you’ll be working into your review strategy from now on?
Any current favorites?
Not sure which ones are worth pursuing?
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