Thursday 23 January 2020

Purplebricks Canada - what on earth were they thinking?

'A former employee told Forbes:  “When I received the email I was disgusted that Purplebricks thought it necessary to cheat to get reviews. They asked us to get friends and family, who had never used the service, to post 5-star reviews online, focusing on Google and Facebook, and I was even more disgusted to find that so many of my colleagues went along with it. It’s deceiving to the public.” '

It is also illegal. The full Forbes story is here

On one level this was patently a considered attempt to mislead the Canadian public into using Purplebricks - we have to assume by someone at a pretty senior level (the Puplebricks statement makes no mention of dismissal, which would have inevitably been the sanction if it had been perpetrated by a junior member of staff). But the story should not be seen in isolation, Purplebricks have other questions to answer...

How about 'Why are you using reviews generated and written by your UK customers to support your Canadian marketing?':

And 'Are you gating* to ensure you look good on Google?':

Given that this is what your UK operation looks like:

*Gating: using one or more filters to pre-qualify customers to ensure only those customers most likely to write 5* reviews are invited to do so. Illegal in the UK under CMA regulations and in breach of Google's terms of service...

We have two more questions for Purplebricks relating to the use of reviews in the UK:

  1. Why do you invite customers to post reviews to Trustpilot and Feefo and not Google?
  2. Why are you using both of those platforms?

If we get an answer to any of the questions posed in this article, from any reliable source, we will post them here. Meanwhile, if you want your business's reputation to remain intact...
  • comply with the CMA regulations - to the letter - and Google's too
  • use Google, not a review site 
And, if you want to sleep at night, employ a professional review manager, preferably one with a moderated system.

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