Yesterday Yelp announced that they are cracking down on companies who collect reviews on their platform.

This is no surprise to us, and fortunately, not a concern for our customers. Last year we decided to stop collecting reviews on Yelp to align with their product and company policies. For a period of time it was challenging because while we were telling our customers that we didn’t collect Yelp reviews, other companies continued to take shortcuts with the major review platforms and solicit Yelp reviews.

That meant, in some cases, we lost current or prospective customers to other tools that falsely claimed this was an acceptable practice for their business. For us, it was difficult to see this happen, but crucial for us and our customers to maintain alignment with major review platforms.

Today, that decision is proving to be extremely beneficial for our customers. Many local businesses have received email communication from Yelp warning of being demoted in Yelp search results and having their page display a very prominent “Consumer Alert”. While these businesses are scrambling to stop their Yelp collection initiatives and avoid being penalized, our customers can remain confident in our decision and commitment to do the best thing for their business.

This isn’t the only difficult decision we’ve made in the best interest of our customers. We’ve made commitments to not participate in the practice of gating or filtering negative reviews. We’ve pushed for integration into a business’ system of record to verify each review is from an actual customer. We’ve designed our product to ask every customer for a review to ensure the most authentic representation of the business. Finally, we’ve evolved our platform beyond simply collecting reviews to powering convenient interactions throughout the entire customer experience.

When this is done right, everyone wins. The business and its employees get rewarded for providing excellent experiences, the review platforms get fresh and authentic content, and the consumer can make better purchase decisions.

Change is always difficult, but hopefully, it is clear that we always have the best interest of our customers in mind. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that Podium is a partner that local businesses can depend on.