Google confirms that donating to reviews charities is against policy

Recently I was in a Facebook group where a user posted this question:

“One of my clients donates to the charity they support with every review you leave, whether good, bad or ugly. Is that worth a review? I would say no. Sounds awesome to me, I think I’ll start on that myself.”

I wasn’t really sure of the answer so I turned to Google to find out.

According to Google’s guidelines, it’s not okay to incentivize reviews:

Payment, inducement, or encouragement to post content that is not a genuine experience.

In this case, the person leaving the review technically doesn’t get an incentive, since the money goes to a charity. However, Google has confirmed that this is still against the guidelines. Although the user who submits the review does not technically receive any money, due to the incentive of a donation it can still result in them submitting a positive review. Ultimately, Google doesn’t want the customer experience to be impacted in any way.

PS I’m going to sulk now because I lost a bet to Colan on this.