Thursday, May 24, 2012

Service offering FAKE REVIEWS & TESTIMONIALS is on the rise. Big time.

So, all those review sites you use to help make decisions about what to buy, what restaurants to go to, what hotels in which to stay.  How reliable are they?

Not very it seems.  It's called "opinion spam" and it's exploding.

Just do a search on the recent phenom website using the search term “testimonial” or “review” and there are almost 5,000 results of people offering to “write great testimonial for your product or service”. From a NY Times article about the same topic “...On another forum, Digital Point, a poster wrote, “I will pay for positive feedback on TripAdvisor.” A Craigslist post proposed this: “If you have an active Yelp account and would like to make very easy money please respond.”(1)(2) 

There are tens-of-thousands of ads out there all over the internet of people requesting you to write bogus reviews for their business and people offering to do the same.

There are also dozens of video testimonial websites offering similar services but in video.  They market themselves using phrases such as “actors”, “script writers”, etc.  One website boasts “Our actors are always well briefed about your product or service. All of our testimonials feature fluent English with uniqueness”  On another video testimonial websites FAQ reads the following question and answer:  “Where are your actors from?   Our actors are based in the US and have English as their first language. They are not professional actors, which makes the videos natural and believable.”

There are too many to list, and many of them have launched in the past 6 months.  None of them voice any concern for real or verified testimonials, quite the opposite actually...  So buyer beware, if the testimonials are not third party verified by a reputable testimonial verification company, it's safe to assume that they're fake.  And if a company is using fake reviews, that most likely means that they can't get good reviews from real customers...

So, how do you prove that your testimonials and reviews are the real deal?  Have them submitted via an independent testimonial verification service such as Testimonial Shield.  In business since 2006 Testimonial Shield can do everything from help you gather testimonials from your customers (written and/or video), display them on your website via their testimonial widget accompanied by their trust seal that lets your site visitors know that the reviews they're reading are real.  They can even send your verified reviews to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google+, and more.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Our original Press Release for our Testimonial Verification Service

Solana Beach, CA December 12, 2006. For immediate release.

Testimonial Shield works to provide peace of mind and build trust by verifying the authenticity of customer testimonials published on websites.  The presence of Testimonial Shield’s  web seal  helps consumers and businesses identify trustworthy online organizations.

Company founder, Peter Monaco, was always a bit skeptical about those sparkling customer testimonials found on almost every website selling something.  They so often seem too good to be true, and after some research, and the FTC’s own findings which have led to a new set of laws surrounding customer testimonials, it appears that the vast majority of the testimonials used to sway would be buyers are in fact fictitious.

“From my experience with my own previous businesses, I would occasionally get an email from potential clients accusing me of having fake testimonials - I knew they were true, but really, looking at it from their angle, how would they?“ says Monaco.

We all know to look for the safety icons accompanied by an image of a strong padlock regarding encrypted financial transactions: Verisign®,  TrustE®,®,etc.  These indicate that others won’t be able to steal or share our personal or financial information, but how do we know about the ethics of a company?  The quality of the products or services they’re selling?  Their customer support or ability to deliver in a timely and as described manner?  Any company can use a secure shopping cart and do the right things to keep data encrypted, but what about the experiences of other customers?  That’s where the real indication of a company’s quality is revealed – non-paid customer testimonials.  But testimonials are only effective if people believe them.

Many people base a decision to buy a product or service based on past customers reviews; that’s easy to do when it’s a local business referred to by a friend, but the web is such a huge global place.  There’s just no way to know.

Testimonial Shield’s preliminary survey indicates that a vast majority of web users do not believe most of the testimonials they read on small business websites, and that testimonials do, in many cases, make or break a sale.

It’s also a means of rewarding honest companies.  “It gives honest companies the edge they deserve over those that are just making up testimonials.  If your products are ‘about the same’ and your price is ‘about the same’ I can almost guarantee you that certified 3rd party authenticated customer testimonials will win you the sale every time over the other guy.”

For more information on using Testimonial Shield visit the company website at

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Case Study reveeals 16% Increase in Conversion Rate

We conducted a 9 month case study of 24 websites (from 'mom & pops' to publicly held fortune 5000 companies) and found an average increase in conversion of 16% once the testimonials displayed were verified by

We've made it very easy and extremely inexpensive to be able to capture and display testimonials from your customers via our widget.  We'll even send your testimonials to facebook, twitter, pinterest and more... 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Maybe you're heard about the new site to get work done for just $5:  It's a website where anyone in the world can offer to do any work for just $5.

I'm not promoting fiverr, just the opposite actually.  I went to their website to check it our after reading an article in a business magazine that outlined the sites concept and remarked about it's rapid growth...  And to my surprise, what I found was that a large percentage of the services offered were to write reviews or testimonials for your business.  The problem?  The people offering to write or record testimonials and reviews for your business are not customers.  They're in Italy, India, Sri lanka, Great Britain, etc.  So in many cases they cannot have even tried your product or service...  Anyways, always use authentic testimonials and have them third party verified by and you can't go wrong.