Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ - Personal Account

What makes Real Word of Mouth different from other review sites:

  • Privacy controls
  • Reviews from people you know

Why this matters:

  • Find the right services - You know which friends share your values, who is an expert on various subjects, and who's tastes and spending habits are most like yours. And your friends know you - they will know which businesses and services could be a good fit for you.
  • Save time - It takes time to read reviews, figure out who to trust, and guess their tastes and preferences. You don't need hundreds of reviews to make a decision or solve a problem - you just need the right reviews. From people you know.
  • Keep it all together - No more sticky notes, pieces of paper, emails and voicemails to lose. Always know who recommended which service, and have all the contact information and reviews in one place where you can quickly search and sort recommendations from people you know.

Yes. Simply click on "Enter" in the upper right corner on to search and browse public reviews.

Benefits of joining:

  • See the full name of authors of public reviews and any reviews shared with you.
  • Write private and public reviews.
  • Share reviews with people you know.
  • Use Real Word of Mouth as a personal directory with private notes only you can read.

Follow these steps:

  • Join by clicking on the "Get Started" button on, or click on "Get Started" under the "Personal" menu at the top.
  • Use the "Review" button on your personal home page to write reviews for businesses you want to share
  • Use the "Invite Friends" button on your personal home page to invite your friends and people you know.

There are many more ways to write reviews and invite people you know to share reviews. These are described in more detail below.

Here are all the ways you can write a review:

  • Use the "Review" button on your personal home page. Use the "home" icon in the upper right to go to your personal home page.
  • Use the "Review" button that appears for each business in the search results.
  • Use the "Review" button that appears on each business profile.
  • Select a business from the list of suggestions that appear when you start to enter a business name in Search.
  • Add a business using the "add business" option at the end of the list of search suggestions.

When you start typing a business name or keyword in the "Search" box (it says "What do you need?"), we will automatically make suggestions of businesses that match what you are typing. We have over 95 million businesses from around the world to choose from. At the bottom of the list of suggestions is an option to "add business" if you are searching for a specific business, and the business name doesn't appear in the list. Of course, you can also select the "Search" button to see all the results that match your keywords.

No. Businesses can only read what you write about them if you write a public review.

Not only can business owners not read private reviews, but business owners will not even know the private reviews exist. Private reviews are truly private. You can write freely and "colorfully" in your private reviews.

There is one exception. If the business owner is also your friend on Real Word of Mouth, has friends in common with you, or belongs to the same group(s) that you share your review with, the business owner can then see your review.

No. We do not support anonymous reviews.

Why not?

Anonymous reviews are generally problematic for both consumers and business owners. It's very difficult to know if an anonymous business reviewer is a real client or not. Because anonymous reviews cannot be vetted or verified in any way, they generally have low value because consumers and business owners want to read reviews from real clients.

Consumers often write anonymous reviews to warn other consumers and to avoid retribution by a business owner. Instead of anonymous reviews, Real Word of Mouth allows you to write private reviews and share them with the network of people you know - friends, friends of friends, and groups you belong to. This allows you to warn the people you care about most in a credible and effective way, and you can still reach hundreds if not thousands of consumers, depending on how many people you know on Real Word of Mouth.

Another reason consumers write anonymous reviews is to vent their frustration, or to get even with a business. Real Word of Mouth is not intended to be a platform for venting or "getting even". There are many review sites that already allow anonymous reviews. Should you feel the need to write an anonymous review, we would recommend using a different service.

Yes. This is a great way to create a personal directory of businesses with your own private notes. For example, you might make a note of who you worked with, product or service details, or the quantity of something you purchased for future reference.

Simply write or edit your review and select the "Only Me" option instead of "Everyone" before you hit "Save". Other options are "Friends" and "Friends of Friends", as well as any groups you might belong to. You can edit your review and change who can see the review at any time.

Later, if you want to see all the reviews that you wrote:

  • Use the "Search" option (magnifying glass icon in the upper right)
  • Change the search filter from "Public" to "My Reviews".

You can sort your reviews by date, distance, rating, business name, and other options. You can also sort, or search your reviews using keywords to find exactly what you need quickly if you have written a lot of reviews.

If you want to see all the reviews that you wrote:

  • Use the "Search" option (magnifying glass icon in the upper right)
  • Change the search filter from "Public" to "My Reviews".

You can sort your reviews by date, distance, rating, business name, and other options. You can also sort, or search your reviews using keywords to find exactly what you need quickly if you have written a lot of reviews.

Yes. Real Word of Mouth is designed from the ground up for sharing reviews privately. For every review you write, you can choose who can see the review. You can choose your "Friends", "Friends of Friends", "Only Me", or "Everyone". If you belong to any groups, you can choose among your groups as well.

You can even combine choices, for example you could select your "Friends" and one of your "Groups". Or perhaps you only want to share the review with one group by selecting "Only Me" and the group.

If you select "Everyone", your review will also be shared with the busines owner and major search engines. Of course, your friends and groups will also be able to read your reviews.

No and yes.

We do not filter private reviews in any way. No one but the people you share your private reviews with know that your private reviews even exist. Not even the business owner knows what private reviews exist, let alone what any of the private reviews might say, or what rating they received in private. Super private.

We do filter public reviews. We do our best to filter fake reviews (reviews not by real clients) and reviews containing inappropriate language. This provides a high quality experience to all Real Word of Mouth visitors.

Filtered public reviews turn into private reviews - they are not deleted. Filtered reviews continue to be visible to the reviewer's friends and friends of friends. This means that even if the review is filtered, people who know the reviewer will continue to benefit from the filtered review. We never delete reviews. Only the person who wrote a review can delete their review.

Filtered reviews are not included in the public rating calculation for a business. This prevents people from falsely influencing a public business rating by writing private reviews.

There are several ways to invite people to share with you on Real Word of Mouth:

  • Email is the easiest way to invite friends. Use the "Invite Friends" button on your personal home page to send your friends a personal invitation via email. Simply enter their name and email address, along with a short personal message (optional), and your friend will receive a personalized invitation from you in their email containing a link to join and automatically be your friend..
  • If you use Google Gmail, you can import your contacts and select which people you would like to invite.
  • If you use Facebook, you can import your friends and select which friends you would like to invite.

Real Word of Mouth is entirely opt-in. This means that you and your friends must choose to share with each other - nothing is shared with anyone you didn't invite to be a friend. Nothing is shared until someone accepts your invitation. No one receives an invitaion unless you specifically invite someone. There is no spam, and private sharing is truly private and predictable.

Categories are assigned by Real Word of Mouth. This is done for consistency in search results and when browsing. This also means less work for you when you add a business that is not currently listed in Real Word of Mouth.

If you feel a business is not categorized correctly, send us an email at

Generally no. The only time your email contact is shared with a business owner is when you write a public review for their business, which means you already have a business relationship with them as a client.

Real Word of Mouth does not offer advertising opportunities to businesses, nor do we sell your data to other businesses.

FAQ - Vendor Profile

Clients are most likely to write a review when you:

  • Ask in person - face to face, or over the phone
  • Ask when you just had a good meeting or completed a successful project
  • If they say "yes", tell them they will receive an email from Real Word of Mouth to write a review
  • Tell them they won't need to join Real Word of Mouth or set up an account
  • Follow up quickly with an email using the Real Word of Mouth Review Builder

Some additional tips:

  • It's important to ask in person. You might think a client is super happy, but when you ask for a review, the client might voice some issues. This is a good thing, because knowing about issues and working through them is better than learning about them in a review.
  • It's important for clients to expect an email from Real Word of Mouth so they can look for it.
  • Joining a service to write a review is often daunting for clients who are not tech savvy, or too much work for those that are. The Review Builder eliminates the need for clients to join Real Word of Mouth, and increases the likelihood they will write a review.

It's not how many reviews you have, but how frequently you have new reviews. What you don't want is a dozen reviews over a period of a few days, and then no new reviews for many months after that. Consumers will think your business is stagnant or inactive. Or they may feel the reviews you have are suspect.

A good rule of thumb is that you want client reviews to appear at the same rate as you want new clients. For example, if you want one new client each week, then you want one client review each week. This will keep your reviews fresh, and you won't ever run out of clients to ask for reviews.

No, not if you ask them to write a review using the Review Builder.

See the FAQ "What's the best way to ask for a client review?" for how to maximize the likelihood of clients writing a review.

If your client already has written multiple reviews on Yelp or Google (i.e. "Google My Business", formerly "Google Places") for other businesses, ask them to write a review for you on these services.

But if your client has never written a review on Yelp or Google, there is a very strong chance their review will be filtered (i.e. it will not appear). Both Yelp and Google often consider just one review by a new user as being a fake review. Yelp and Google will filter your client's review until your client has written more reviews, and Yelp or Google's algorithms decide to trust their reviews. This can be very frustrating for both you and your client, especially if your client has no desire to write more Yelp or Google reviews.

At Real Word of Mouth, we understand that there are many people who don't regularly write reviews. Not only do we make it easy for them to write a review with the Review Builder, but unlike Yelp and Google, we also don't filter reviews of people when they only write one review.

As an added bonus, Google syndicates reviews from Real Word of Mouth. Your client reviews on Real Word of Mouth may also appear on your Google My Business profile (i.e. "Google Places").

No. We respect a client's privacy when they choose to share a review privately. As a matter of privacy, we do not tell you how many private reviews you have, or the nature of the reviews, let alone who wrote the reviews.

Have no fear - private review ratings do not affect your public business rating. However, your public business rating does affect your private review ratings. A client will see the average rating for your business based on all the reviews they have permission to see, which includes public reviews. Even if a client writes a negative private review, their friends and group members will also see your public reviews. This provides your clients and prospects with a more complete picture of your business.

Private reviews, no.

Public reviews, yes.

To provide a high quality experience for users, we filter reviews we believe are fake, and we filter reviews which are inappropriate (inappropriate language, spam for other services, etc.).

To learn more about filtered reviews, see the FAQ item in the Personal Account section titled Does Real Word of Mouth filter reviews?.

To learn what you can do about fake reviews, see the FAQ item in this section titled What can I do about fake reviews?.

We guard against both fake negative and fake positive reviews. Sometimes this process will filter a real review or overlook a fake review.

Unlike services like Yelp, we provide the full name and email for any public review to help you determine if a review is real or not. We do not offer special services at this time to verify if a reviewer is a real client or not, due to business and client privacy issues.

However, if you subscribe to a paid plan, we give you the ability to manage the filter directly. We reserve the right to cancel the subscription, remove the business owner, and/or entirely remove a business profile from Real Word of Mouth if a business owner does not use the filter responsibly.

As the adage goes, "the best defense is a good offense".

The best way to protect yourself against negative reviews is to have plenty of positive reviews in advance. You might think of this as a kind of "review buffer". The worst possible scenario is receiving your first review, and that review is a negative one - the only thing prospects see, putting you in a defensive position.

In general, you need to work things out with your client. You can ask your client to make their review private while you work things out. Once things are worked out, you can ask your client to edit their review based on the final outcome.

Most people don't expect businesses to be perfect, but they do expect businesses to be responsive when there are issues. A 4-star review that tells a story of addressing and fixing issues that ultimately leads to a happy client can be more powerful than a glowing 5-star review. In fact, an occasional review that is less than 5 stars makes the 5-star reviews more believable. Otherwise, it might look like you are cherry-picking your client reviews.

Some clients may give you a 4-star review, and if you go back and ask them if you could do something better, they might reconsider and change their review to a 5-star.

Sometimes a client can be angry and unreasonable no matter how hard you work to meet their demands and make them happy. In this case you may just want to move on and live with their negative review. If the majority of your reviews are positive, as time goes on the negative review will matter less and less.

If you subscribe to a paid plan, you have the option to "feature" some of your positive reviews so that clients can read reviews from your best clients. Featured reviews can help offset the affects of a negative review.

If you subscribe to a paid plan, you might be tempted to filter a negative review from a real client. We strongly discourage such use of the filter. We monitor for potential filtering of real client reviews. If we detect a pattern of filtered real client reviews, we may issue a warning that your subscription is at risk of being cancelled.

Finally, do not hire a third-party to write fake positive reviews to offset your negative client reviews. We monitor for fake reviews and automatically filter them. If you subscribe to a paid plan and you unfilter fake reviews, that is grounds for immediate subscription cancellation. If there is a large number of fake reviews, we may remove your business profile.

No, not directly.

However, when your client's personal and professional network (friends, friends of friends, and group members) read your client's review, they will also see all of your public reviews. A great review from someone you know together with positive public reviews from other clients can be a winning combination.

FAQ - Financial Advisor Profile

We guard against fake positive and fake negative public reviews with a filter. We define a "fake review" as a review that was written by someone who was never a client. We define a "client" as someone who has paid for your services. The review filter cannot be influenced by a financial advisor, broker dealer, or clearing platform.

The review filter is sophisticated and looks at many signals that can identify a potential fake review. Nonetheless, the review filter is not perfect.

If you believe a real client review was filtered by mistake, or a fake review needs to be filtered, please contact us at

With your help, we will work with your current or former compliance department (if you are a registered rep) or clearing platform (if you are a RIA) to confirm that the author of the review is an actual client.

To learn more about filtered reviews, see the FAQ item in Personal Reviews titled Does Real Word of Mouth filter reviews?.

If you subscribe to a paid plan, you have the option to temporarily turn off all of your reviews using the All-or-Nothing Review Switch while you are working things out with your client.

For a list of strategies for handling negative reviews, see the FAQ item in the "Business Profile" section titled What can I do if I get a negative review?.

Also, learn what measures you can take to protect yourself against possible negative reviews by reading the FAQ item in the "Business Profile" section titled Can I protect myself against negative reviews?.

It's worth mentioning that direct control over the review filter that is available in the Business Profile plan is not available in the Financial Advisor Profile plan because it is not SEC and FINRA compliant. However, the All-or-Nothing Review Switch is compliant.

To learn more about cient reviews, read the FAQ items in the section Business Profile.

FAQ - Teams & Groups

A Group is your own private member-only service for sharing reviews with people that share a common goal or interest.

  • You control who's invited.
  • You get a dedicated group privacy setting for reviews.
  • Your group logo appears next to your members' reviews in search results.
  • Create as many groups as you want.

Your groups will be fully integrated in the Review, Search and Browse functions. It's like having your own private review site.

Teams are a paid service, whereas Groups are free. You can easily upgrade from a Group to a Team.

Group members share reviews with strong privacy controls.

Groups are best for organizations that:

  • Want a shared vendor directory that doesn't change frequently
  • Don't have a large number of vendors
  • Have the resources or discipline to collect, input, manage, and maintain the shared vendor reviews

Teams add email collaboration and significant automation to a Group. Teams also collect more context for each vendor, such as for what situations a vendor is recommended. Teams can easily scale geographically and our automation can support thousands of vendors.

Teams are best for organizations that might:

  • Need hundreds or thousands of trusted vendors to support a transactional business
  • Span many regions, states or countries
  • Have frequent changes in leadership
  • Have a large staff of volunteers

Teams add significant process automation and intelligence features:

  • Send email requests for vendor recommendations to your team via Real Word of Mouth.
  • Real Word of Mouth analyzes your request, and automatically responds with matching vendors using past requests and recommendations.
  • In parallel, you receive new vendor recommendations directly from your team via email.
  • Email responses from your team are analyzed, and vendor intelligence is extracted and added automatically to your private vendor list as institutional knowledge.

No. Sharing with friends and sharing with a group are quite different.

Only friends can see your reviews shared with friends. However, just because two people are your friends, doesn't mean those same two people are friends with each other. So when two of your friends share their reviews with you, they are not necessarily sharing their reviews with each other - unless they are friends with each other (or if you shared using the "friends of friends" privacy option).

On the other hand, anything shared with a group is seen by all group members, independent of any relationships or non-relationships between group members. However, anything shared with the group is never shared outside of the group, not even with friends of the group members.

Yes. When writing a review:

  • Select "Friends".
  • Select the group(s) you want to share with.

Many combinations are possible, including:

  • Only Me + Group(s)
  • Friends + Group(s)
  • Friends of Friends + Group(s)
  • Everyone + Group(s)

The last combination, "Everyone + Group(s)", may not seem necessary and even redundant, but it explicitly shares a review with a group so that it appears in search results for a group's reviews.

Groups - strengthen your community by sharing knowledge about local vendors.

  • Neighborhood
  • Parent Group
  • Sports Team
  • Hobbyists

Teams - Increase your organization's performance with email automation to capture, share and access vendor intelligence about partners, vendors and competitors. Share referrals with your team. Build and retain institutional knowledge.

  • Real Estate Brokerage
  • Property Manager
  • Short-term Rental Manager
  • Not-for-profits
  • Service Groups
  • Business Networking Groups

Follow these steps to start a new group:

  • Click on the "Start a Group" button on your personal home page.
  • Pick a name for your group (you can always change it later).
  • Compose a "Welcome message" - this will appear in your invitation to new group members (you can also change this later).
  • Click on "Create". You now have a group, but no members yet.
  • Under "Invite Members", enter the email address of each new group member you want to invite.
  • Click on "Send Invite".

Groups are completely private and hidden to all except the members of the group. We currently do not have the notion of public groups where you can request membership.

Only the person who started the group can invite members or remove existing group members.

Unlimited. You can create as many groups as you need. And you can belong to as many groups as you are invited to.

Unlimited. A dozen or thousands, it's all good.

FAQ - Help and Tips

Contact our support team at Questions, feedback, feature requests, problems - we want to hear from you.
After you register, we send you an email that contains a link. When you click on the link, it tells us that you are a real person (and not a spam robot), and that we have the correct email address for you. If you do not get a confirmation email:

  • Check your spam filter to see if the confirmation email was mistaken for spam
  • Add to your list of good email addresses so that you receive future Real Word of Mouth emails.

  • Go to
  • Click on "Login" (upper right corner)
  • Click on "Forgot password?"
  • Enter your email address
  • Check your email inbox for an email with the subject "Real Word of Mouth Password Reset Notice"
  • Find your temporary password in the email
  • Go to
  • Login with your temporary password
  • Click on your name in the upper right corner
  • Choose a new password and enter it in the two fields under "New Password"
  • Click on "Submit"
    If you see "dots" for the password, your old password may still be stored in your browser. Select and clear the "dots", and enter your new password. This should work.
    • Go to
    • Click on "Login" (upper right corner)
    • Click on "I need an account…"
    • Click on the "f | Register" button at the bottom of the "Create an Account" menu

    FAQ - Filtered Business Listings

    A filtered business listing is a business profile that has been removed from public view because the contact information is incomplete or cannot be verified, or the business listing conflicts with the rules of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
    A filtered business is NOT removed from Real Word of Mouth, instead access to the business listing is limited to people who are eligible to read a review for the filtered business based on their relationship to the review writer. Relationships may include group members, friends, or friends of friends. A user or business owner cannot directly filter a business listing. Business listings are filtered by our algorithms and a team of reviewers. If you believe a business listing should be filtered, or you would like your business listing filtered, please contact us at
    Yes. In some cases, a reviewer may want to only recommend a business to a select audience and not make the contact information public. In this case, those who can see the review must obtain the business contact information directly from the reviewer. For example, they may not have a business license or trade license that we can verify, or the service provider may be working on the side and does not want a public listing.
    Yes. If the business listing is claimed, the business owner can ask a client to write a review using an email containing a special review link. Also, if you are connected to someone who has written a review for the business, you can also write a review for that same business. A public review cannot be written for a filtered business - the review can only be shared with groups, friends, or friends of friends.
    If you are the business owner and you have claimed your business profile, then you can edit the contact information. The business listing will still remain filtered after you have edited the contact information. If you would like the listing to be made public again after editing the contact information, please email us at
    Yes. Real Word of Mouth provides powerful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and review syndication for business listings. We abide by the policies of the major search engines so that we can provide the best possible SEO to all the public business listings in Real Word of Mouth. Filtered business listings are not displayed in the search engines. Examples of business listings that may be filtered because of search engine policies are listings associated with "doorway sites" or "order gathering websites", or business listings attempting to use Real Word of Mouth as a doorway profile or order gathering profile. Both of these practices (doorway and order gathering) are considered deceptive and misleading to consumers.
    If you would like to change or add more contact information so that a business listing may be viewed publicly, or you believe a business was filtered in error, please email us at