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