CitySquares Allows SMBs to Opt Out of Reviews

picture-58CitySquares is trying something novel. It’s allowing SMBs that appear on the site to opt out of being reviewed by consumers. However to avail yourself of this benefit you have to be a paying customer. Here’s how CEO Ben Saren describes it on the CitySquares blog:

So now, if you’re a small business owner you can opt-out of consumer reviews on your CitySquares business profile.

Here’s how it works:

  • If you are a paying customer, you can choose between having reviews, or not having reviews. Period. End of story. There is no gray area – reviews are either enabled, or disabled, for paying customers only.
  • If you are not a paying customer, we cannot disable reviews. You must be a customer. And all it takes is $5.99/month to become a customer, and that is all it costs to have reviews disabled on your profile. Not a penny more.

What do others think of this idea?

5 Responses to “CitySquares Allows SMBs to Opt Out of Reviews”

  1. Marcos Nobre Says:

    I think it devalues the service for the end user. What’s the point? Back to old yellow pages? I think they’re desperately trying to get more businesses. Period. They’ll loose relevance because of that.

  2. Ron Butman Says:

    I like the idea in concept but what happens when a negative review of a business is posted? Doesn’t the business have a strong incentive to pay to have the review feature disabled especially if they only have a few positive reviews that they would also lose? Or, perhaps, there will be such a negative bias towards the businesses that decide to turn-off their reviews that very few businesses will avail themselves of the feature. In the end, I’m just not sure this will end up being very popular or generate a lot of $’s for CitySquares.

  3. Greg Sterling Says:

    As the post above argues, consumers care about reviews. And reviews are a valuable source of feedback for SMBs that choose to pay attention. The challenge is devoting the time to “manage” all the review writers and reviews that pop up all over the place.

    On balance I’d argue that local businesses are better off exposing themselves to reviews.

  4. Malcolm Lewis Says:

    It’s not a bad idea IMO, although having to be a paying advertiser to turn off reviews muddies the waters a bit. If you put that part of it aside, you’re allowing the business to decide if they want the incremental business that mostly reviews probably generate.

  5. Greg Sterling Says:

    Agree Malcolm, free option would make it cleaner

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