Displaying Only the Best Reviews on Your Website? You May Want to Rethink That…

If you’re like many (most?) small business owners, it’s a point of pride to show those 5-star Google reviews on your website. There are a number of WordPress plugins that will enable you to do this easily. But whether or not this is a good idea requires some thought…

Did you hear about the case the FTC (US Federal Trade Commission) brought against an online fashion shop called Fashion Nova in January 2022? It was the first case of its kind, alleging that the retailer was deceiving customers by only showing positive reviews on their site.

Fashion Nova settled the case for $4.2 million.

The FTC says it has sent warning letters to 10 companies that offer some type of review management/filtering services, so it is definitely cracking down on potential manipulation of online reviews.

What does this mean for you? It’s probably best practice to show all of your reviews on your site instead of filtering out the negative ones, if you’re going to display them at all.

And a negative review isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it gives you the ability to respond publicly to a problem and perhaps fix the situation for the customer. Sometimes this results in an edited and improved review. And at the very least, 56% of consumers say seeing a response from a business owner made them feel more positive about that business.

However, the plugins I’m familiar with that make it possible to filter out the negative reviews don’t seem to offer a way to show the business owner’s responses. That’s a big problem that I’m doing some research on now, if I find one that does show responses I’ll mention it in a future post.

Here are the guidelines from the FTC about displaying online reviews – see the section under Review Publication in particular.