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For many local business owners, it always warms the heart to receive a great review on a site like Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, Facebook, or Foursquare. Why? Well – not only do positive reviews provide solid affirmation of a job well done; they’re also a potent marketing tool that can help build buzz online and get a business noticed.

However, there will be a few times when a great five-star review can potentially do damage – instead of good – to your business reputation (in the same odd way that bad reviews can sometimes be good). Let’s explore the ways in which raves on your business’ review profile can drive away potential and existing customers.

(Check out: “Look on the Bright Side: 4 Ways Bad Online Reviews Can Be Good For Your Business”)

Reviews Can Be Bad for Your Business if: 

1. The reviews make you look too perfect…and therefore inauthentic. The world is not black and white. Even the biggest, most successful companies in the world get occasional bad reviews. So if your profile on Yelp or TripAdvisor consists exclusively of glowing reviews and five-star ratings, be warned: you might be losing cred in the eyes of customers. They might think you’re fake; even worse, they might think you’re faking it. (Giving yourself 5 stars? Here are the cons of faking your online reviews.)

2. You think there’s nothing wrong with your business. One of the most important reasons why business owners must embrace negative reviews is that these reviews generate great insights that could drive specific performance improvements. However, if you’re only getting positive reviews, there’s a certain temptation to become complacent and think everything you’re doing is perfect – which, in the long run, will do the opposite of helping you stay competitive.

3. You’re not engaging with positive reviewers and happy customers. You must respond to positive reviews – even if it’s just a short thank-you note showing appreciation for the time the customer took to write the review. It’s a great way of showing that you value customer feedback, as well as of reinforcing the best parts of your business. On the other hand, responding to nothing and showing zero engagement will taint your business reputation as being uncaring, ungrateful, and uninterested. Or if you’re only responding to negative reviews, you might be perceived as being defensive and self-protective.

(Check out: Yelp’s guide on respond to online reviews)

4. The business information accompanying your reviews is no good. When people read a great review of a local business, they’re going to be eager to try it out. Which means they’ll be looking for information such as business name, phone number, website URL, address, etc. Put yourself in optimum position to drive more business from positive reviews – by ensuring that your local data is correct, accurate, and up-to-date.

5. You’re unable to capitalize on great reviews. Don’t ignore your five stars. Capitalize on them! There are many ways you can squeeze more juice out of a five-star review. You can share it across your social networks, you can print it and place it in some prominent place in your business location, and you can share it as a motivational message to your team.

Looking for a great mousetrap to monitor and manage online reviews? Sign up for a free trial of ReviewTrackers, our award-winning review monitoring and reputation management software platform – trusted by tens of thousands of business locations.

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.


  1. Gyatso

    Hello, I got my business listing in very recently . So, I need some review . did you give us some idea…..

  2. Marco

    I never thought about reviews in this way, interesting. But what if a new business just gets lucky enough to avoid negative reviews for, let’s say, first year, will that actually reduce their rating in the eyes of their customers, making them think the reviews are fake?

    • Jason S.

      I think Marco that it will definitely be the case. But, knowing Yelp plenty reviews will get filtered before you actually get enough high rated reviews for being held as a fake reviewer business. So, all in all you will get some bad review sooner then enough 5-star reviews ::)

  3. Michael

    So what, am I suppose to delete good reviews just because someone will think it’s fake?
    You can’t please everybody…

  4. Robin Sterling

    So, good reviews are bad now? Come on! What’s wrong with having positive reviews?

  5. Amanda

    This is an interesting perspective. Positive reviews are always good for your business but it is how you manage them that really shows how good they can be. You need to be up to date on all your online information and make sure to keep engaging with your customers. And always remember there is always something that can make your business better.