Reviews are an essential part of doing business online. They heavily influence consumer buying and local rankings. But as Joy Hawkins points out, using rewards or other incentives to help generate them is a bad idea.
A law firm in Louisville, Kentucky, Winton & Hiestand Law Group, had the vast majority of its reviews on Google removed after it was discovered that the firm was incentivizing people to review the business with contests and giveaways.
The firm had roughly 100 reviews on Google before the matter was reported in Google My Business forums. As of this moment, the firm has a single review on Google (albeit five stars). The firm was giving out family zoo passes as the incentive in this case.
On Facebook, the firm has 1,000 five-star reviews. It may well be that a high percentage of these are the byproduct of contests and incentives. Google previously stated this policy against using financial incentives to generate reviews:
Don’t offer or accept