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Content Guidelines

General Guidelines

Special Needs Certified allows users to contribute different kinds of content, including reviews, photos, events, votes, tips, private messages, and more. We've put together these general guidelines as well as the guidelines below for specific types of content that you might contribute to the site.

  • Inappropriate content: Colorful language and imagery is fine, but there's no need for threats, harassment, lewdness, hate speech, and other displays of bigotry.
  • Conflicts of interest: Your contributions should be unbiased and objective. For example, you shouldn’t write reviews of your own business or employer, your friends’ or relatives’ business, your peers or competitors in your industry, or businesses in your networking group.
  • Promotional content: Unless you're using your Business Owners Account to add content to your business's profile page, we generally frown upon promotional content. Let's keep the site useful for consumers and not overrun with commercial noise from every user.
  • Relevance: Please make sure your contributions are relevant and appropriate to the forum. For example, reviews aren't the place for rants about a business's employment practices, political ideologies, extraordinary circumstances, or other matters that don't address the core of the consumer experience.
  • Privacy: Don't publicize other people's private information. Please don't post close-up photos of other people without their permission, and please don't post other people's full names unless you're referring to service providers who are commonly identified by their full names.
  • Intellectual property: Don't swipe content from other sites or users. You're a smart cookie, so write your own reviews and take your own photos, please!

Additional Guidelines

  • Review Guidelines - The best reviews are passionate and personal. They offer a rich narrative, a wealth of detail, and a helpful tip or two for other consumers. Here are some additional thoughts for conscientious reviewers.
    • Personal experience: We want to hear about your first-hand consumer experience, not what you heard from your co-worker or significant other. Try to tell your own story without resorting to broad generalizations and conclusory allegations.
    • Accuracy: Make sure your review is factually correct. Feel free to air your opinions, but don't exaggerate or misrepresent your experience. We don't take sides when it comes to factual disputes, so we expect you to stand behind your review.
    • Review updates: Review updates should reflect a new experience or interaction with the business. Don't tell the same old story you've already told. If you'd like to add new insight to an old experience, just edit your review instead of creating a new update.
  • Photo and Video Guidelines - Business photos and videos should be broadly relevant to the business and reflect the typical consumer experience (e.g., what the business looks like, what the business offers, etc.). We may remove photos and videos that showcase a more unique personal experience (e.g., your smiling group of friends at the bar, the fly in your soup) as well as lower quality photos and videos (e.g., too blurry or dark).
  • User Profile Guidelines - Use your account profile to let people know who you are and what makes you tick. Users want to read reviews from people they know and trust (not those with profiles that are empty or laced with inappropriate content).
  • Business Owner Guidelines - Business owners should participate, too. Some words of wisdom:
    • About Your Business: You can use the "About This Business" tab to tell people a little something special about your business. Please keep it relevant: don't use this feature to attack your competitors, reviewers, or Special Needs Certified, and don't use it to seed keywords or post special offers or promotions — we'll remove them if we see them.
    • Public Comments: Private messaging is often the best way to resolve a dispute with an unhappy customer, but business owners can also address issues publicly by posting a public comment. As with private messaging, we ask that business owners upload a clear photo of themselves to help personalize their message. Don't use public comments to launch personal attacks, advertise, or offer an incentive to change a review.
    • Video: Videos are a great way for advertisers to promote themselves on Special Needs Certified. Be as creative as you can, but please keep it clean. We're not big fans of imagery showing violence, drug use, nudity, near nudity, or suggestive acts. Also, please don't use your video to disparage other businesses, users or Special Needs Certified; request or solicit reviews from users; or respond to user reviews.
    • Don't ask customers for reviews: Don't ask your customers to review your business on Special Needs Certified. Over time, solicited reviews create bias in your business listing — a bias that savvy consumers can smell from a mile away.