Testimonials are an important part of any company. They can help to build credibility, trust, and brand recognition through the words of someone who has experienced your product or service firsthand.
Unfortunately, it is not always easy for businesses to get testimonials from customers that they have satisfied. This article will discuss everything you need to know about fake testimonials: what they are, how you can spot them and avoid them in your business, as well as the benefits of getting real customer testimonials instead!
What are fake testimonials?
Fake testimonials are posts that purport to be from a customer, but in reality are not. The most common way of getting fake reviews is by incentivizing customers with money or other favors for leaving good feedback on your product or service, as well as using people who have never used the product at all. These biased opinions can hurt your business, so it’s important to be aware of how easy they are to spot and avoid them.
Fake testimonials can also just come from people who don’t actually exist or use your product – customers reviews on Amazon have been proven to be fabricated in some cases!
Fake testimonials are not only unethical, but they can also be illegal – and it’s important to know the difference between legal and ethical marketing techniques when trying to grow your business.
It is a violation of FTC rules for businesses to offer any form of compensation or incentive in exchange for reviews.
FTC rules state that any incentives provided by a company need to be “reasonable” so as to not be seen as an attempt to sway opinion.
If you own a business and want to provide your customers with discounts on their next purchase, that might be appropriate – but it would not make sense if you offered cash directly in exchange for reviews.
This is because the incentive (cash) far outweighs what the customer can reasonably be expected to provide in return (a review).
What about a voucher for the business’s next product?
That could be considered appropriate, but only if it were something that would entice a customer to purchase their next item at this business.
For example: A local restaurant may offer vouchers for future meals or discounts on food in order to entice customers into submitting reviews.
Incentives are not the only determining factor in whether a review is legitimate or fake. Reviews that seem too positive, for example, are often viewed with skepticism and an accompanying sense of suspicion by readers.
Are fake testimonials illegal?
It is not illegal to post fake customer testimonials, but it may be a violation of Federal Trade Commission guidelines.
The FTC has had several cases in the past where they have cracked down on businesses who used false or paid reviews and testimonials. They are especially strict with any business that does this for advertising purposes – because the FTC believes that this is a form of false advertising.
If you are unsure about whether or not you should post fake testimonials, then it would be best to consult with an attorney before proceeding – just to avoid any possible legal trouble down the line.
There may also be penalties for violating FTC guidelines, which can include fines and even jail time.
Are all paid testimonials illegal?
No, not all paid testimonials are illegal. If someone was be given a product online and then left an honest review about it (without being compensated in any other way), this would be perfectly legal – as long as the reviewer discloses that they were given free or discounted goods in exchange for their opinion.
The legality of testimonials depends on the situation. There is a difference between paid testimonials and incentivized reviews – which are not legal under FTC guidelines.
Incentivized reviews are reviews given in exchange for free or discounted goods, and these reviews must be disclosed.
It is illegal to pay customers for any positive review they may give your company – which includes giving away a product so that the customer will leave a good review about it.
Can Google detect fake testimonials?
Google has a sophisticated algorithm for spotting fake reviews. Their software can detect when the review is inauthentic and provide information on who wrote it, what they said about your company or product, how many words were written, and whether or not they provided any links to other websites.
The Fake Testimonials evaluation section of their Google My Business page will show you how many reviews are marked as “suspicious” and give information about what Google thinks is suspicious, such as unexplained spikes in positive feedback.
Google also provides a link to the review that they think is fake so that your business can investigate it further.
Testimonials work because people trust them – which means it’s important to make sure they’re real.
How do you spot fake testimonials or reviews?
Because of Google’s option to identify fake testimonials, it is possible for a business owner to ask Google “did you find any reviews that are suspicious?” which will bring up the Fake Testimonial evaluation section on the Google My Business page, with information about how many reviews they’ve marked as false or suspicious.
One way of spotting a fake testimonial is to look for an unexplained spike in positive feedback.
It’s hard to tell how much of the increase is real versus manufactured, but it pays to look into reviews that are suspicious or with large swings in sentiment from one page to another.
Another way of spotting fake testimonials is to look for reviews that use any of the following phrases:
• “We are so happy with our purchase!”
• “This is a must buy product.”
• “I am in love with this new gadget.”
• “The best thing I ever bought”
Why do businesses use fake testimonials?
Businesses might use fake testimonials to make their company look more reputable and trustworthy.
If the business has a bad reputation, then they may be trying to create new positive reviews that will help them gain back some of their lost credibility.
Fake testimonials can also undermine or change customer perceptions about a brand’s value, and make them more likely to purchase the company’s goods.
Some businesses may use fake testimonials in an attempt to increase sales by making their products look better than they actually are.
It can be difficult for a customer to know if reviews about a business, product or service are real, so some people might find themselves blinded by fake testimonials and misled by false information.
Some people believe that it’s perfectly fine to pay for good reviews, but others disagree based on the ethical implications of doing this.
For example, if a company pays money to get positive feedback in exchange for free goods or services then they may not be getting an honest review, which could lead people to believe that the goods or services are of a higher quality than they actually are.
Another potential issue with paying for positive reviews is the fact that people are more likely to leave reviews for products they’ve received free of charge.
This means that there won’t be as many reviews on the good or service, which can make it difficult for potential customers browsing online to determine if a product is worth buying.
How do I get my first testimonial?
It’s not easy to get your first testimonial because you need a lot of happy customers, and it also depends on the industry. If you’re lucky enough to have an existing customer base then ask around in person or over email if they would be willing to give their feedback for free.
If not, there are different ways to get testimonials. You can use a service like USPlabs, for example, which is one of the most popular review companies on Amazon with over 1000 reviews!
There are also plenty of websites that offer free reviews in exchange for your product or services.
How to get customers to leave a testimonial
Businesses constantly encourage their customers to leave feedback.
This is because they know testimonials are one of the best marketing tools for a business, whether they come from happy customers or not! Apart from improving your SEO and ranking on Google, customer reviews can be used as an indicator of the quality of service you provide at all times.
Here are some tips on getting customer reviews:
• Involve your clients in the process to help create a product they want; ask about what they like and don’t like while using your products or services; give away free samples so they can let you know what they think of it; and encourage your clients to leave reviews in the form of testimonials.
• Provide an incentive for customers to provide their feedback, such as a discount code or free product. This is one of the best ways to have happy customers.
• If your business has a blog and customers have commented on it, this is an opportunity to ask them for feedback about their experience with the product or service.
What can I do when my competitors are offering incentives for testimonials?
If your competitors are offering incentives for testimonials, you should offer something of equal value in order to stand out. For example, if your competitor is offering a coupon code for their website as an incentive, you could offer a free product at the end of the review.
Benefits of customer testimonials
Perhaps the most important benefit of testimonials is that they work as a form of social proof. They offer visible evidence to visitors and new prospects alike that your product or service works.
If you’re looking for a cost effective way to generate more business, show off your products, and improve your site’s conversion rate, you can’t go wrong with customer testimonials.
Other benefits of testimonials include:
• Increased credibility.
• Builds trust and rapport with customers.
• Increased conversion rates (since testimonials are social proof).
• Decreased cost per lead.
How do customer reviews increase a website’s credibility?
Customer testimonials help build trust with customers in two main ways:
First, they show that other people have been satisfied with the service or product. This makes it more likely for potential customers to believe a blog post’s claims.
Second, they’re an effective conversion tool because testimonials can help convince visitors who are on the fence about making a purchase decision.
Customer reviews also increase conversion rates by serving as social proof.
Research has found that consumer reviews can increase conversion rates by up to 27% and decrease cost per lead by $18,000.
In addition to boosting conversions, customer testimonials are an effective marketing strategy for acquiring new customers because they help you build a stronger reputation in your industry.
Customer testimonials can increase a website’s trustworthiness for both visitors and potential customers. These leads to increased sales because people are more likely to buy from a site that has testimonials.
The benefits of customer reviews are wide-ranging, and it's important for companies to take the time to harness their power before they're too late.
Because of these benefits, you don't want to buy fake reviews or testimonials from shady companies! You can also get legitimate customer testimonials by asking customers for feedback on the product and service they received. But if this is not feasible, you can also request customer testimonials from your most loyal customers.
One of the companies has been suspected of using fake testimonials to build its work-from-home business is Home Profit System. Read I Buy I Review's comprehensive review of Home Profit System here.
I buy and review courses so you don’t have to. Sometimes, I even find courses that are legitimate and worthwhile; and that’s how I accidentally came across one that led me to building a 6-figure business in a little under 5 years. Now, I still review courses because it’s my favorite hobby. 🙂 Learn more about me here.