The Best Review Incentive is… No Incentive

A good friend showed me an eco-hotel that was offering a very creative review incentive and asked if I thought this violated TripAdvisors no incentive terms of service:

“When you leave a review on TripAdvisor, we make a donation to Plant A Billion Trees Foundation.”

I had seen incentives come in all shapes and sizes but basically break down into three categories, all of which had been declared as not kosher at both TripAdvisor and Google:

  • Leave us a positive review and receive a coupon/discount/award
  • Leave us a review, good or bad, and receive a coupon/discount/award
  • Leave us a any review and be entered into a raffle to win a coupon/discount/award

Any Review Incentive Violates TripAdvisor Guidelines

This one was different. I had never seen one that was as subtle as making a donation to a charity. It appears to the casual reader to not be self serving. That being said, it seemed to exist on the above continuum and I was curious if either the FTC or TripAdvisor found fault with it. So I reached out to TripAdvisor and this is what I was told:

The response provides information that review incentives do violate TripAdvisor guidelines and are subject to penalty.

Offering any sort of incentives in exchange for reviews is a violation of (TripAdvisor) guidelines


In case you’re interested in reviewing the guidelines, here are the links:

So, there you have it. ANY incentive, no matter if the incentive is for the greater good of mankind or for the personal gain of the reviewer, is deemed as out of bounds and should not be used.

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