LocalArea makes it possible for users to contribute content in a couple of different ways. For our business users, we allow the publishing of coupons for discounts on goods and services. For everyone else, we enable communication between local consumers and local businesses via our business review feature. While we like to believe all of our visitors will use this feature in a friendly manner, we’d still like to lay out some general guidelines to follow when posting content on LocalArea.
Things to Avoid:
- Inappropriate Content: Allowing customers to express their opinion in their own unique way is exactly why we have a review feature. However, we need to keep language civil and must avoid anything that can be viewed as a threat, harassment, lewdness, or as a display of bigotry, racism, or other form of hate speech.
- Self-Serving Content: We know you love your business and that you think your sister’s business is great too, but we want you to share your true, unbiased, opinion based on actual experiences had while interacting with a business. Please avoid reviewing your own business, businesses belonging to friends and family, as well as competitors and peers in your industry. Of course, if you’ve actually interacted with any of these businesses as a customer and want to share your experience, that’s fair game.
- Promotional Content: While we definitely encourage our business users to publish coupons via their business accounts, other areas of the site should not be used for promotional purposes. Specifically, business reviews are not the place to promote an offer or business and if found, any self-serving ‘reviews’ will be removed.
- Content that is Too Personal: Reviews aren’t the place for airing your personal grievances with a specific business. By all means you can share a negative experience in a civil manner, but you should not use a review as a platform to attack a business over their business practices, political beliefs, or anything else not related to your experiences as a customer of that business.
- Illegal Content: When posting a review, be sure you aren’t breaking any laws or violating someone else’s rights. This means you should avoid posting individuals names or other personal information without their permission. Also keep in mind that content taken from other sites belongs to someone else, so please only post original content. If something is not your original work, be sure you have permission from the owner before posting it on LocalArea.
- Pay to Play: Reviews are a great way to tell a business owner what you think and an even better way to see what others think of a business you are interested in. However, the legitimacy of reviews can quickly come into question if businesses offer any form of payment for positive reviews. We want truthful opinions of businesses in your local community, not paid advertisements that don’t provide any real feedback about a business.
Things You Should Include:
- Unique Experiences: The most valuable reviews come from your unique, personal experiences had while interacting with a business. Because LocalArea is focused specifically on connecting local businesses with local customers, you have the opportunity to have a real impact with your reviews. Share a story or other memorable experience you had and let others in your community know what it is you really liked, or even did not like, about a business you’ve visited.
- Information You’d Want to Find: When leaving a review, try to think of what things you want to know when reading someone else’s review of a business. While we all want to know which restaurant has the best soup in town and can all benefit from a tip on how to find a business with a difficult to spot entrance, not all information is worth sharing. Try to avoid providing opinions that aren’t relevant to what a business actually does or that won’t help a potential customer make a better-informed decision about patronizing that business. If you wouldn’t find your own review useful, it’s unlikely anyone else will either.
- The Truth – Good or Bad: One thing we don’t want is for reviewers to feel like they can only post their good experiences with a business. As long as you are sharing the facts and not violating any of the ‘things to avoid’ it’s totally fair to share your true experience, whether it was good or bad. Do try to be constructive with any negative feedback and perhaps reach out to the business owner directly for a direct resolution before posting a review that may not represent an average interaction with that business. Most of all, stick to the truth and try not to provide speculations or assumptions beyond what you can be sure you experienced.