Chapter 2 Topics

2-C: Paid/Coerced Ratings and Reviews

Chapter 2 C

If you believe that online reviews are an accurate indication of the quality and integrity of a company, think again! 

Reviews and ratings can be extremely misleading at best, and outright fraudulent at worst.

-Some places are more concerned about online reviews than they are about actual client satisfaction.
-You can buy fake reviews – it’s a thing.
-You can pay or offer incentives and rewards for clients to leave good reviews
-You can pay a reputation management company to “fluff up” your online image.
-You can encourage staff, friends and family to post reviews, even if they were never clients.

Why do some mediocre places have so many 5-star ratings while some excellent companies have so few? Consider the following:

Some hot tub companies pay an offshore company to compose phony online reviews – one of our competitors outright admitted it to me. Apparently, you can hire people to post multiple reviews over a period of time under different names, making them appear local and authentic.

Many businesses diligently follow up with their most satisfied clients to ask if they’d please leave an online review.

Some offer special benefits and/or in-store credits to clients who leave a good review. Essentially, they pay or bribe clients to leave a good review.

I know one hot tub store owner who encourages his staff to ask their friends and family to post good reviews about their business, even if they haven’t bought anything there.

My marketing manager will be horrified if he discovers I put this in the website, but I think it’s true, so here goes: As the business owner, I personally wouldn’t rate Hot Tubs Galore to be a solid 5/5. I think 4.5 – 4.7 would be more realistic. That’s technically an A+, and I’m OK with that score. I suspect that’s probably true of even our noblest competitors, because nobody’s a perfect 10. If you (the reader) are a perfect 10, please stop what you’re doing and send photos to me immediately at so I can see what perfection looks like. Sending your picture may earn you a $10 in-store credit if I like it enough.

Hot Tubs Galore does not pay or coerce anyone to write a positive review. What we receive is authentic and unsolicited.