Recently I was in a Facebook group where a user posted this question:
“One of my clients is giving a donation to the charity they support with every review you leave, good bad or ugly. Is this paying for a review? I would say not. Sounds like genius to me I think I’ll start doing it myself.”
I wasn’t actually sure of the answer, so I reached out to Google to find out.
According to Google’s guidelines, it’s not okay to offer incentives for reviews:
Paying, incentivising or encouraging the posting of content that does not represent a genuine experience.
In this case, the person leaving the review isn’t technically receiving the incentive since the money is going to a charity, but Google confirmed it is still against the guidelines. Although the user leaving the review technically isn’t getting the money, it can still lead to bias towards a positive review given the incentive of a donation. Ultimately, Google doesn’t want the customer experience to be swayed either way.