Not all review sites play games with customers and business owners.
In that way, Yelp and Google+ are outliers. Reviews there are important, of course. But if you run into difficulty getting reviews there, the last thing you should do is throw in the towel. That’s because the vast majority of review sites aren’t such a PITA.
I’ve rounded up all the review sites I know of that make it very straightforward – in one way or another – for customers to write reviews. They make customers jump through a minimum of hoops.
Sure, that also means that it’s easy for people to post bogus reviews. But these non-Yelp, non-Google sites follow a different philosophy: let the reviews through and let readers make up their own minds as to what’s legitimate. (Given how lax Google’s review filter has become and how Yelp’s filter hasn’t gotten any better, I think there’s much to be said for the hands-off approach.)
Here are some sites that make it especially easy for customers to post reviews – and most of these sites are pretty important.
Review sites that accept Facebook logins
It’s a hassle to ask customers to create a username on a site just so they can review you there. It’s usually easy, but not as easy as being able to skip that step.
That’s why some sites let customers use their Facebook usernames to post a review, rather than create a username.
Here are the sites (I know of) that let customers sign into Facebook rather than create a separate account:
Facebook (don’t forget to get reviews there)
YellowPages (.com, .ca, and other equivalents.)
One big upshot of these sites’ Facebook-friendliness is that you can post a “Hey, please review us” request on your Facebook page (assuming your customers follow you there). The chances are good that it’ll result in reviews, especially if you tell your customers how easy the process is.
By the way, there are other sites that let you sign into Facebook rather than create a new username if you simply want to “join” the site, but that don’t require a username to write a review. HealthGrades and SuperPages are examples: you don’t have to be a “member” of the site or sign into Facebook to post a review. I’ve excluded those sites, partly because there are a lot of them.
Review sites with badges or widgets
I covered this in my post, Ultimate List of Review Widgets and Badges for Your Local Business Website.
Sites that allow anonymous reviews
See 17 Sites That Allow Private or Anonymous Reviews of Local Businesses
Sites that make reviews easy in other ways
TripAdvisor has a nice app that lets you add a “TripAdvisor Reviews” tab to your Facebook page.
Angie’s List has forms you can download, print, and give to your customers (or patients). They can fill out the forms and mail them to Angie HQ, where the powers-that-be will post the review to your page. Kind of cumbersome, but it’s an option.
Houzz gives you forms, too. (Thanks to Ben Bowen for this intel.)
HealthGrades lets you order forms, too, but I believe you have to contact them and ask for the forms.
I’d like to keep updating this post as I learn of more sites that make it relatively easy to post reviews.
Do you know of a site I missed?
Do you have a favorite?
Leave a comment!
Nice list, Phil.
Something critical about FB reviews. They don’t show on a reviewer’s time line. Deliberate by FB, b/c if they did that would be the best source of reviews: Reviews to your friends and family from a trusted source. FB doesn’t want that info to be free to the smb’s, to whom they are looking for ever increasing ad income.
If one is managing reviews and asking for them, If a customer is writing a review on FB I’d tell them the review won’t be seen by FB friends and ask if they’d put the reviews on one’s personal timeline.
One astonishing thing about yelp is that its ranking strength is so danged great…even in cities where it hasn’t made a major marketing effort. If one is getting reviews on yelp there is a nice likelihood it shows in the google and bing serps. (bing of course highlights it). The difficult thing abt yelp is that freaking filter that is often applied against new reviewers.
That is where one would want to use the strategy suggested here: https://blumenthals.com/blog/2015/02/10/getting-yelp-reviews-when-all-else-fails/
Great points, Dave.
Mike’s post is spot-on. I’d also point people concerned about Yelp to this:
I think it’s good that FB reviews don’t show up in one’s timeline. To paraphrase George Costanza, you may not want the two worlds to collide.
Brian Rys says
LOL!! You had me laughing so hard with the George reference!
George is a wise man 🙂
Josh Gates says
Great resource Phil. Question – have you seen any research suggesting people may not want to login w/Facebook to new or rarely used sites due to perceived security or trust issues? In other words, a mindset along the lines of “I don’t want (site name here) having access to my Fb account?”
Great question, Josh. I haven’t seen any research on that. I can imagine that would be a roadblock for some people, but probably only a small sliver. If you log into one of these sites with your FB login you do get a message that says the site won’t post anything on your Facebook page. That’s a legitimate concern, but it’s addressed. If people have broader concerns about privacy I’d wonder why they’re using Facebook in the first place, with its track record.
We like TripAdvisor best. High Google placement helps. But the main reason is that TripAdvisor seems to use real humans to decide which reviews are legitimate, rather than an automated filter.
When a customer likes us enough to create a userid and password on a review site to write his first review, it is frustrating that yelp filters away his effort as “not recommended.”
One surprising experience we had is when we tried TripAdvisor’s Review Express. It is a system where TripAdvisor sends two emails to the customer asking him for a review. We have seldom used it, but when we tried, it resulted in one of our very rare four-star reviews instead of the five-stars we usually receive. So if the customer is begged, rather than doing it of his own volition, that might affect the resulting review.
Great point, David. Thanks for the tidbit about TA’s “Review Express.” I didn’t know of that.
Ben Bowen says
Houzz also allows clients to mail in a form with a review. You can see it here: https://info.houzz.com/reviewform
Ben, thanks for the intel. I’ve added Houzz and credited you.
kaycie smith says
Great list that will save hours of leg work when setting up a roadmap for a review strategy! Interesting point provided by David as well “So if the customer is begged, rather than doing it of his own volition, that might affect the resulting review.” Something to consider and pay attention to! I guess the key is to ask for reviews in a way that doesn’t feel like overkill. After good customer service, I suppose its all in the wording of the action desired.
Would definitely like to hear more about Yelp and Google filters. What are others seeing besides: first time or low amt of reviews by the reviewer, reviews from same ip, too many reviews for same business at the same time. I love the zig-zag approach because it will help to avoid those pitfalls, but wondering how many additional experiences can be added to the filter list?
Thank Phil for the amazing post!
Google isn’t really filtering reviews these days. Maybe 1 out of 15, in my experience. They let a LOT of junk through, like business owners’ reviews of their own businesses.
Yelp seems somewhat less likely to filter reviews less than 5 stars. Also, a reviewer who writes a bunch of reviews in a short period of time and then goes dormant will often have his/her reviews filtered post facto. You’ve got to keep at it over a sustained period of months.