Bing Drops “Write a Review” Link; Good Move or Bad?

Filed in Bing, Featured, Local Search by Matt McGee on March 17, 2011 12 Comments

bing-logo-tspIf 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 The “write a review” link has been replaced by a link to read the existing reviews/ratings.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 Maps, and mobile devices, too.

Your turn: Should Bing bring back the “write a review” functionality to its local business listings? Comments are open!

Comments (12)

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  1. SearchCap: The Day In Search, March 17, 2011 | March 17, 2011
  1. Chelsea says:

    Hey Matt, sorry about responding so quick on Twitter without fully engaging. Real bad.


    I think reviews are an integral part of search and will be in years to come. Crowdsourcing information about what people like and don’t like seems to be how Google is leading the charge. And, why not? If the context of the search is accurate by aggregate, I think reviews of some sort, like Search Wiki or written reviews for local services will define the players of tomorrow.

    I think we’re at a point where you have to be damn good at whatever you do, whether you have a local service business or an online megasite, you better be serving customers the best thing you’ve got or you’re out.

    As far as Bing is concerned, it sounds like their strategy is to make decisions less complicated. If that’s true, I think they should bring reviews back. Getting reviews from people who actually use Bing seems valuable.

  2. Kathy Long says:

    Interesting! I think this is a good move. As noted on a recent discussion here, reviews are getting less and less credible because of all the spamming that is going on. If there’s an engine out there that can control that better, I say let them have at it and then the others should just pull them in.

    But personally I think there’s no one better to trust when it comes to reviews than your friends or friends of friends. If Facebook gets on the ball with their Places, they should add a review engine there and then Bing, Google and others could pull from there. If they did like LinkedIn does and show your level of connection to the reviewers, that would even be better.

    In case you don’t know, Facebook reviews have been spotted in Google Places. I heard this through the grapevine so haven’t been able to confirm yet, but I believe they are coming from the Facebook review app that you can attach to your Facebook page.

  3. Craig says:

    I think customer reviews and rankings should play an integral part of any search engine’s placement criteria. It’s difficult as a small business owner to compete with the big boys. One more way to keep us back.

  4. Gary Young says:

    Bad move by BING – I feel the future direction of all search engines is that they must include social commenting. After all, people trust other people’s opinion more than some internal algorithm that can be manipulated.

  5. michael says:

    Stupid move, that’s why Google stays #1
    Fast, Functional, and Clean Interface with USER INTERACTION….duh

  6. Val says:

    As a small business owner I must disagree. Online reviews are a must for many reasons. One reason people who are new to an area and do not have local friends or family to ask about where to go can look online and see what others have to say about local businesses.Yes reviews can be forged by people related to the business, but the truth is, people can spot those a mile away.

    If Bing wants to remove the option of writing reviews, then they should remove ALL the previous reviews too. Make it an even playing field. It is not fair to leave past reviews up and not give anyone else the option to compete for reviews. Either they want reviews on their site or they don’t. Which is it?

  7. Robert Hogg says:

    yes, yes, yes. Bring them back. Very usefull for operating a small business

  8. I think this was a great move by Bing. I see far too many anonymous “reviews” entered about a company by their competitors, by a disgruntled (perhaps recently fired) employee, or by someone else who may not have even used their service who is having a bad day.

    I think that if reviews are posted (trsust me – I like reviews – reviews can be very helpful), that they should be associated with an active user account that the business can directly contact to either thank, or to work out issues that the reviewer identified. Reviews should be removed if a person cancels their account, because there is no way for the company to address the issue.

  9. Kim says:

    From a consumer perspective, I am much more likely to try a business that has a USEFUL, positive review than a business that has no reviews or bad reviews. I use ratings and reviews to make all online purchases, also, and especially important to me is the return policy if there is no storefront. Also, people are smart enough to look at 1 bad review with little or no useful information and disregard it. If a business needs objective validation that the reviewer visited the business, a credit card transaction could be required. But really, BING should absolutely include ratings. What a big mistake to remove this feature. Just make it thorough and ask for some sort of validation! PS look at Yelp! Stock and growth projections for some insight

  10. mike says:

    More than two years later Yelp is still the preferred way by Bing for users to leave a review? Little if any hope of the “Write a Review” link coming back now I would think – especially after the “new & improved” Bing Places for Business.

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