You Too Can Debase Yourself Or Your Business For A Fiver

 

The FTC doesn’t like fake testimonials – they can also get you in trouble in the UK.

I have covered disclosure in blog posts extensively but fake testimonials just irks me.

There is a story in the New York Times over a settlement just reached for some fake testimonials on iTunes (via Techmeme)

The story reminded me of something I saw earlier on one of the new “job” sites, Fiverr earlier in the day. Some of the stuff posted there is quite legitimate, but all these offers for testimonials for whatever you want are just wrong.

Fiverr Testimonials Reviews

Now I have been a supporter of paid reviews in the past

For me they are legit when as an author you get to review something, even if just the website and if you offer some kind of opinion, then it has to be your honest opinion without any restrictions, and preferably without any oversight – free to publish honst criticism if justified. I have also supported clear disclosure.
You could also have advertorials written by a 3rd party as long as they are clearly marked.
You would also be wise to nofollow or otherwise block search engines from counting the links or they might get upset.

I can see video reviews being totally legitimate if they use the same criteria though how you tell Google that a video is a paid review I have no idea, especially if it is posted to Youtube.

What I can’t sanction, and to be honest it makes me feel all creepy and dirty is flat out paying for a positive video testimonial.

This is high risk not only for the person doing the review, but also for any business owner using the testimonial. I have no idea how this would also affect Fiverr who probably profit from any transaction.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    A lot of sites right now are more on getting paid rather than being informative. Just to get the best traffic for their sites they place a lot of stuffs encouraging others to click on it but actually they are just wasting our time.

  2. Brad says

    Another fiverr style site is uphype.com. I have used both, there are many more out there too but from my experience these two are the most legit. My word of advise from experience is like on ebay, buy from someone who has a good rating and great feedback past buyers. I purchased an uphype.com job to promote my facebook fan page and it went from 28 fans to 470 in one day! Well worth the $8 bucks.

    • says

      I am all for a little buzz marketing, and sometimes it can take a little push – but that is a little different to fake testimonials that might appear on sales or affiliate sites.

  3. says

    I’m afraid to say that I think this whole process is rife! We’ve had experience of big, supposedly respected and impartial (ha) websites actively encouraging us to fake testimonials by creating fake hotmail accounts and adding our own reviews. Obviously, this is something we avoided like the plague. But there are many others out there who believe this a legitimate way of suckering consumers into buying their service. If this was a TV ad, there would be serious reprocussions, so why doesn’t the same standard apply to internet marketing? Thanks for the post.

  4. says

    Great post, Andy! I’ve looked at Fiverr, as I’ve offered translation services there, and had never noticed that kind of ad before. I agree, it’s reprehensible, and extremely risky for both parties. I did notice that Fiverr’s disclaimer supposedly divorces them from any responsibility. However, since such activity is illegal in many jurisdictions, they might not skate off so easily.
    And yes, they get a percentage of every transaction… 20%!

  5. says

    I may be old fashioned but paying for fake testimonials seems outrageous. I can see giving soemone samples or access to your product and then getting them to comment on it. But paying for a testimonial that is not real seems disingenious.

    • says

      There isn’t even a hint in some of them of discretion… they will say whatever you want them to for a fiver.

      I think it is scandelous

  6. says

    Its looks like everybody want to get easy money this day. They don’t care if they give “wrong” testimonial might be “hurt” somebody else who use that product or service.
    What a world today…

  7. Watch Anime says

    This is why I never read testimonials. These people willing to supply fake ones for cash are just ridiculous.

    • says

      I suppose that depends on the testimonial.

      As an example – Alex has already commented so a good example, if I was to give a testimonial for one of his products, and I have purchased his products in the past, linked to them both for free and as an affiliate, then would that be something to trust.
      You won’t find lots of testimonials from me on the net, in fact I only appear on one sales page and that was an excerpt taken from a paid review – slightly out of context but it wasn’t worded as an endorsement of the product, just the person for being creative.

      In many ways that is legally a better testimonial than if I had been given a product to review – an endorsement of a product afaik (I am not a lawyer) needs to be typical, so if you are endorsing it you should have paid for it unless there is the reasonable expectation such as with computer games mags that they don’t have to pay for anything they review.

  8. says

    Fiverr profits off any transaction I believe its a $1.oo off of every $5 Fiverr. And I agree fake reviews should be illegal but I think the FTC has bigger fish to fry as in multi million dollar corrupt businesses. But then again I could be wrong. but that is what i read anyway. Good post, I hope Fiverr starts removing these fake review testimonials. But prob not, unless they are forced too anyways.

  9. laptop battery says

    Obviously, this is something we avoided like the plague. But there are many others out there who believe this a legitimate way of suckering consumers into buying their service. If this was a TV ad, there would be serious reprocussions, so why doesn’t the same standard apply to internet marketing? Thanks for the post.I think so!

  10. LONNIE Tatham says

    This is quite an interesting post. Having fake testimonials is just so ridiculous while there are others doing it for a good benefit then it’s just same effort with fake testimonials. Now I know how it works. Thanks for the idea. :-)