If you have one of those pages or links on your site that asks customers to “review us on Bing,” go ahead and take it down. Your customers can’t do that anymore. At some point in the last few months, Bing removed the “write a review” link that appeared on local business listings and disabled the entire review publishing functionality. But, it sounds like there’s some internal discussion about whether to restore it. More on that in a bit.
Bing’s “Write a Review” Link
Bing used to place the “write a review” link right on the business listing page, below the business name and next to the existing star ratings. I did an image search and found this image on Horizon Mechanical‘s web site (a Denver-based HVAC/plumber).
Clicking the “write a review” link led to a brief form where customers could leave a star rating and write a review of up to 2,000 characters. Customers had to be logged in to a MSFT/Bing account, and the form said it would take a day for the review to show up on the business listing.
Here’s a look at that same Horizon Mechanical listing today on Bing. The “write a review” link has been replaced by a link to read the existing reviews/ratings.
It’s not just the link that’s gone; the entire reviewing form/functionality is gone. On my wife’s real estate website, we used to have a page with links for clients to leave reviews. The direct link to the “write a review” form on Bing no longer works; it just leads to her main business listing page.
Why’d Bing Drop “Write a Review”?
A Bing Maps staffer (whom I won’t name) told me via e-mail that writing reviews on Bing didn’t necessarily fit in with the wider goals of being a decision engine. “Bing would like to make sure that it aggregates the reviews and helps people make a decision on a local business.” Bing’s focus these days, I’m told, is not on competing with sites like Yelp as a place to write reviews, but instead to aggregate those reviews and help people get to other sites (like Yelp) if they want to write a review.
Will Bing ever bring back the ability to write reviews?
The same Bing staffer says the feature is being re-evaluated, which makes it sound like they might bring it back someday.
My take? Let’s hope so. Sure, writing a review is not exactly part of the process of deciding on a local business. But reviews and ratings can be signals that help others make decisions like that.
What’s odd about Bing’s decision to drop originally-authored reviews and ratings is that Google is doing the exact opposite. Google’s been going nuts when it comes to ratings and reviews lately, from the Hotpot launch in November to the subsequent and substantial Hotpot pimping that it’s done in Portland, Austin (for SXSW), Las Vegas, and all over Google.com, Google Maps, and mobile devices, too.
Your turn: Should Bing bring back the “write a review” functionality to its local business listings? Comments are open!