Are many testimonials fake?

by Mark_w
88 replies
I've just about finished writing my first ebook. I have built a site/blog and written most of my sales letter. The only people that have seen the book (98% finished) are my friends.

I'm not really sure what to do for testimonials. So many out there must be fake, I'm wondering if I should just make some stuff up as well?

How important are testimonials to the sales letter?

My ebook is in the travel niche so it is hard to get "trusted" experts to review my product. I honestly wouldn't know where to start!

Any help would really be appreciated.
#fake #testimonials
  • Profile picture of the author David Babineau
    NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER Make up testimonials. Did I mention Never?

    "How important are testimonials to the sales letter?" --> Extremely important. People will believe others a lot more than they will believe you (Social Proof).

    You don't need "experts" right now. Why not give away a few copies on a site like this e.g. or on a travel site in exchange for testimonials from real people?

    Cheers,
    David
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    • Profile picture of the author affiliate2010
      Right! Testimonials are extremely important!


      Originally Posted by David Babineau View Post

      NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER Make up testimonials. Did I mention Never?

      "How important are testimonials to the sales letter?" --> Extremely important. People will believe others a lot more than they will believe you (Social Proof).

      You don't need "experts" right now. Why not give away a few copies on a site like this e.g. or on a travel site in exchange for testimonials from real people?

      Cheers,
      David
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  • Profile picture of the author colmodwyer
    I'm not really sure what to do for testimonials. So many out there must be fake, I'm wondering if I should just make some stuff up as well?
    That's a rather silly assumption. I wouldn't be so sure about how many testimonials are made up... And even most were, I wouldn't take that to mean you can make crap up too.

    Colm
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  • Profile picture of the author Kenster
    Many testimonials are fake or fake in the manner that its friends or family that do the testimonials.

    I wouldnt suggest this though because its just wrong and your readers maybe able to see right through it. As mentioned above, give away some free copies or give peopel some kind of incentive to write a testimonial for you.

    good luck
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr. Subtle
    Originally Posted by Mark_w View Post

    How important are testimonials to the sales letter?
    From my archives...





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  • Profile picture of the author digidoodles
    Yes. Many are fake. Or at least "borrowed". For example, a person sells an apple and the customer gives feedback for that apple. "Great transaction. Just as stated. Great customer service. Johnny Be Good is great to deal with!"

    Later, Johnny Be Good decides to sell a $10K coaching package and uses the apple testimonial... "Here's what my customers had to say: "

    While it's the truth that Johnny's customers did have that to say about the transaction with the APPLE (that was, btw, $2.00), it is NOT true that any customer has anything to say about a $10K transaction with Johnny Be Good. In this case, Johnny Be Bad.

    Would you consider this a fake testimonial? Some would say yes, some would say no. I say, undoubtedly, YES. I mean, EVERYONE'S had someone say SOMETHING good about them at some point in their life, right? To list them and call them "testimonials" is totally and completely dishonest.

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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    Subtle nailed it.

    Testimonials are part of your credibility... and there's more ways to do that than just testimonials.

    Testimonials are great... but they're hardly essential.

    In fact unless it's a really well written one it might hurt conversions. Way too many copywriters use far too many... filling pages with them.

    That's great... IF they keep your visitor's attention.

    Much better to sprinkle them throughout the copy when appropriate... but I digress.

    There is no excuse for making up testimonials. You should be ashamed for even thinking about it.

    Lots of people mug old ladies. Does that make it okay?

    Sheesh... what a question.

    -Dan

    P.S. Subtle, do you know where I can get that letter... and/or who wrote it?
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  • Profile picture of the author cadoutsource
    After having bought many WSo's on this forum and writing some reviews, I always try to be honest and fair about the product. After all the paying customer usually will have the best opinion. I think you should always strive to get feedback from your customers this will keep your credibility in good standing & help improve your products.
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  • Profile picture of the author Silas Hart
    I'd go as far to say that 99.9% of everyone who has Anything to sell uses fake testimonials and/or paid actors. This of course, does not mean it's "right."
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    • Profile picture of the author JMSD
      Originally Posted by FaJeeb View Post

      I'd go as far to say that 99.9% of everyone who has Anything to sell uses fake testimonials and/or paid actors. This of course, does not mean it's "right."
      That's rather a sweeping generalising. Although I don't doubt that a great number of testimonials are genuine, I, personally, don't take the least notice of them.

      I have spent thousands upon thousands of dollars (I'm a marketer's dream customer) but I have not read a single testimonial or listened/viewed the audio or video testimonials, respectively either, even when I've been checking out products on Jeff Walker's own site (sorry Jeff) although the latter two types of testimonials have more credibility. I do a quick scroll down, passed the last testimonial on any sales site.

      I've reluctantly used only two on mine which, by the way, are genuine but then I'd say that, wouldn't I and I would not blame anyone for doubting my word because I'm still an unknown online marketer although I have over two decades of specialist experience in my discipline in the bricks and mortar businesses I've run and have a file full of comments from attendees (from junior executives to CEO's of leading companies) who were kind enough to give me glowing feedback after each seminar.

      I have another two product sites where I offer no testamonials at all and invite people who expect to see any to leave my site if they are not prepared to use their own judgement.

      Arrogant? Perhaps. But then I won't risk getting the FTC (new guidelines) on my tail to prove that any testimonials that I do provide on site is genuine should some competitor maliciously plant any suspicions.

      I believe visitors to my site should take responsibility for their actions and should be able to judge for themselves whether or not the product or service I'm selling to them is going to be of benefit to them. What one person may choose to say about my product (in a testimonial) does not necessarily mean that another will have the same result. There are too many variables for those comments to be of any real value.

      I appreciate that online marketing has inherent risks for prospective customers but when one offers a 30-day or even 60-day money back guarantee, particularly when using Clickbank or even a merchant account, there's no risk to the customer. They either get value for money or their money back.

      I'm so glad to see one Warrior prove my point. It srengthens my resolve to go down that route rather than take up valuable time collating and uploading videos and audios and typing up endless text testimonials.

      James
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  • Profile picture of the author Franck Silvestre
    Testimonials are important.

    The best way to get them is to ASK to your readers, subscribers and customers.

    Testimonials are only ONE part of the sales page, and you can sell without them...

    Download this 14 points copywriting audio ebook here: http://www.mynetmarketingland.com/books/14-Point.pdf
    (just download it)

    All the best,

    Franck
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonmorgan
    I have no idea how many are fake or real... I tend not to put much weight into them because it obvious that the author is only going to put testimonials on their page that are going to help sell a product. I typically never read them and they never have an impact on if I am going to buy something.

    on a slightly related note:

    I was reading the WSO forum, checking out the comments for opinions of a certain product. A member here made some unflattering comments about the product in his and stated that he didn't think it was that great.

    After I had finished reading through the comments I hit google to do some additional research and what did I happen to find... a review site run by the same person who had previously made negative comments about this product, however, this time it was a glowing review of how great this product was and every serious IM webmaster had to buy it, through his links and affiliate codes of course.

    so, testimonials... i tend to ignore them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bigsofty
    Jason, you ignore them. So do I. I'm guessing quite a lot of people do.

    But it's not about us is it?

    Regarding faking them, a heck of a lot of them are fake, plus many may as well be as it's hard to prove one way or the other just by reading. Rarely does a visitor demand proof.

    Here's the fun bit - the authorities will, should you just happen to be unlucky, or should someone complain or if you just make great claims about the product.

    Then, both owner AND copywriter can be in seriously smelly stuff if you cannot back up those testimonials.

    Instead consider something such as a special deal for bloggers or such, in exchange for testimonials. In the meantime, as Subtle sez, look at other means of building credibility.



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  • Profile picture of the author rajuthan
    Depends but those video ones i think are real
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  • Profile picture of the author Emily Meeks
    Unless they're on the WF, I tend to ignore them.
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  • Profile picture of the author rhocam
    Honesty is always the best policy. I don't concern myself with the others that are basically lying to you. I've never known a person who tells lies yet that doesn't eventually get theirs in the end. Remember, you have to live with yourself, not everyone else. It's hard enough to build trust and if someone finds out you are lying to them, their words about you and your business will spread like a disease.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lambert Klein
    Like many said never make them up.

    It may be hard to get them for a new product but there are ways.

    I find that my older products get plenty of real testimonials without asking.

    Lambert
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark_w
    Hi thanks for all the replies.

    I did suspect that a large amount were fake (or at least altered in some way). Either way, the comments about what the reader believe are actually quite insightful. Whether they are real or fake doesn't matter in terms of the sale, but the PERCEPTION of whether they are real or fake does.

    Now thinking about what makes a testimonial more convincing. Having someone from a blog/site that has some kind off status within an industry or niche seems to be a good start - having their site linked or at least the url unlinked would be good too. Actually getting this might be a bit harder, but I guess it's not essential to have them - it's something that I can develop over time.

    Maybe I'm just a skeptical person, photos do little to convince me. Has anyone experienced a noticeable difference in success with video testimonials.

    p.s I'm a relative newbie at this so for the most part I'm trying to immitate the methods others use to achieve success to begin with. Ripping on me for even "thinking" about faking a testimonial when it is plausible that many others are doing it is hardly fair. I don't want to start a debate about this though so lets keep ourselves on topic. Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author wirelessgeek
    I'm sure many testimonials are fake. But if you want real testimonials, you should give copies of your e-book to a few friends who are willing to be honest with you and let them review it.
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  • Profile picture of the author DougHughes
    Ok, I am going to try and help you out.

    Here are some things you can do:

    1. Pay for unbiased reviews. Here is a list of paid review sites.
      Blog Advertising - A List of Blog Review Sites | SocialSEO.com
    2. Use an independent book reviewer - just google the term.
    3. You can also find book review company's that are more well known. If you use CreateSpace to actually self publish a print version of your book they have some resources for reviewing the book.
    4. Give the Product away in exchange for some honest reviews.
    5. Bypass testimonials to begin with and use other proof mechanisms such as case studies. Another good one is to use portions of news articles from well known news sources related to your topic.
    6. Think beyond testimonials and create an irresistible offer.
    Fake testimonials are rampant. You should know however that using fake testimonials violates some FTC regulations. In the rare event they nailed you for something like that you would need to provide proof such as emails or letters mailed to you with the testimonials.
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  • Profile picture of the author colmodwyer
    Testimonials are great... but they're hardly essential.
    I'm not so sure about that.

    True, the Insider Code sales letter has done $20m+ (GROSS) without a single testimonial... But I don't think any one has bothered to split test WITH testimonials. So it doesn't tell the whole story.

    James Webb Young said - "Readers find the endorsements of fellow consumers more persuasive than the puffery of anonymous copywriters."

    Sounds good to me.

    Colm
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
      Colm, I completely agree with you.

      What I'm getting at is you can launch a page without any testimonials and make sales... then when you make sales you get feedback.

      And that feedback becomes your testimonials.

      I love testimonials as much as anyone else... I'm just saying that you don't NEED them to get a page converting at a decent rate.

      Does that make a little more sense?

      -Dan

      Originally Posted by colmodwyer View Post

      I'm not so sure about that.

      True, the Insider Code sales letter has done $20m+ (GROSS) without a single testimonial... But I don't think any one has bothered to split test WITH testimonials. So it doesn't tell the whole story.

      James Webb Young said - "Readers find the endorsements of fellow consumers more persuasive than the puffery of anonymous copywriters."

      Sounds good to me.

      Colm
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  • Profile picture of the author kimmer551
    I tend to never believe testimonials, just like a screenshot of someone's clickbank earnings!
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  • Profile picture of the author colmodwyer
    Yeah Dan, I get you.

    I'm just saying that it's better to be of the mind-set that testimonials are - absolutely essential - because I suspect you'll make a lot more money that way.

    But yes, you can sell without them... as a last resort.

    Colm
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    Colm,

    I agree with you.

    I don't believe they're so "essential", however, that you should make them up. I know you don't think that, either... but that was kind of where my post was coming from.

    -Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author jennifermL
    yeah i do believe that some testimonial are fake but i think they still incounter that situation but not from their self alone but from other people yet they share it because they know that the said experience could help other... i just hope that fake testimonial wont hurt anybody. thanks for posting...
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  • Profile picture of the author Charleskidd
    Some are fake and some are real. It is very easy to make a fake one, however if you get the right kind of people to do them it makes a difference. Example: Like what procative is doing with all the celebrities.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ashley Wright
    It is very easy to make a fake one up but it is also very unethical and can get you into all kinds of trouble if you are found to have and ruin your reputation which is important on the internet. Best way to get some real testimonials is to give out a few copies and just build up from there!
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  • Profile picture of the author lenlatimer
    If I may quote another famous warrior:

    "Yes, a Jedi's strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will."

    I think Integrity wins out. Avoid the dark side (fake testimonials)
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    • Originally Posted by lenlatimer View Post

      If I may quote another famous warrior:

      "Yes, a Jedi's strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will."

      I think Integrity wins out. Avoid the dark side (fake testimonials)

      May the force be with you!!! love it.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    Many deadlines are fake (buy before ___date to get the intro price)
    Many scarcity claims are fake (Only 4 left, Act NOW!)
    Many bank account screenshots are fake
    Many scratch and dent claims are fake ("Graphics guy misspelled title," get it Now!)
    Many 'make money with this exclusive program' claims are complete BS
    Many marketers claim to have made BIG BUCKS before they've even earned their first dollar
    Many people calling themselves copywriters couldn't write a grocery list
    Most how-to ebooks and reports are utter crap and don't come close to living up to the promises in the sales copy


    So... the easiest of all the hyped-up claims to lie about is the testimonial, draw your own conclusion on how many of them are fake


    You must forgive me, I've recently come to the conclusion that the 'make money online' portion of Internet Marketing exists in the back alleys of online commerce. And people wonder why the FTC is getting aggressive. Go figure.
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  • Profile picture of the author marioilking
    If so many people are convinced that most testimonials are fake, why bother with getting testimonials in the first place? It is a very good idea to try to get real testimonials by giving away a number of free copies on forums or friends as suggested. BUT if the general opinion is that testimonials are fake, how will you make your subscribers believe that yours are genuine? I guess I will do without them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Greg Jacobs
      Let me chime in here with some very recent experience.

      We are currently in a launch cycle for a mid-high ticket system.

      So what we did a few months ago was go and find a core group of "influencers" in our industry. These are what we could call a group of "power users" who have had some experience and would be able to pick up the system without too much trouble.

      So we recruited them and we worked closely with them for our product. Basicly we gave them as much or little support as they required to find success.

      Then what we have are a core group of happy and successful users who are pleased to give testimonials and spread the social proof. And the testimonials are real and that realness really shows. and spreads the news of the product like wildfire.

      This goes deeply with the concept of 1000 true fans. Or to start -10 true fans will do the trick. Find 10 people and get them to be your true fan and believe in what you are doing. Keep going and looking until you have those ten.

      After you have 10 people who really believe in your product, then you are ready to go to the next step.
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      • Profile picture of the author SuzanneR
        I think the way testimonials are now done (and formatted) is predictable and status quo--and therefore has no deep impact on the reader.

        I don't have solid proof on how important they are.

        But I do think testimonials with specificity are a heck of a lot better than a bunch of generic gushing.

        One thing you might want to consider doing is interviewing a couple of satisfied customers--on the phone, with a tape recorder. With the mutual understanding that you're exploring why they like your product-- and that you MAY want to use a slice of what they say as a testie (get their permisson).

        When people talk without pressure, they say more things than they would in writing.

        If testimonials are worth it to you...it may be worth the extra effort to go this route. Just make sure you're not pressuring them to say what you want--or ask them loaded questions.
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  • Profile picture of the author Craigd
    Hey Mark,

    Its funny how much your post reminds me of me. I just released my 1st ebook, I did my 1st sales letter and I have no testimonials other than my own success story.
    I wondered about this for a long time, and was tempted I must admit to do fake testimonials ( I knew others were). Needless to say it never went further than a flashing thought, I just dont think its right, regardless of how many others are doing it. I do think a really well written sales page will sell without testimonials.
    How do you know if the one you wrote is good, conversions and tweaking and testing.
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    • Profile picture of the author searchnology
      I had the same issue. This is what I did.

      1. I had friends and family give me the initial testimonials.

      2. After I had a few customers, I offered them a free report if they gave me their testimonial.

      3. I obtained permission to use in marketing collateral and also slightly reword the testimonials if necessary in both cases since most people don't won't write them well anyway. Another tactic to get testimonials without an offer is to just write the testimonials for them and ask them to edit or approve as is. (This saves both parties a lot of time if what you write is true and you usually get a better testimonial)

      4. I used SurveyMonkey to record all of the above for reference and documentation purposes in case any of my affiliate networks or regulators came knocking.


      Originally Posted by Craigd View Post

      Hey Mark,

      Its funny how much your post reminds me of me. I just released my 1st ebook, I did my 1st sales letter and I have no testimonials other than my own success story.
      I wondered about this for a long time, and was tempted I must admit to do fake testimonials ( I knew others were). Needless to say it never went further than a flashing thought, I just dont think its right, regardless of how many others are doing it. I do think a really well written sales page will sell without testimonials.
      How do you know if the one you wrote is good, conversions and tweaking and testing.
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  • Profile picture of the author lakishacopeland
    Some testimonials may be fake. However many internet marketers let people test out their products in return for a testimonial. Another term for this is a beta test. Give out your product to a few select people in return for a testimonial. Not many people will turn this down. Everybody wants more publicity.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joseph88
      I would recommend any buyers or friends to give an honest testimonial including pros and con of a product.
      Because in my own point of view, 9 out of 10 or maybe 10 out of 10 is'nt perfect, bound to have cons. So, by including pros and con, it would seems more real, rather than all testimonial gives positive comment, people would doubted it.
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  • Profile picture of the author RentItNow
    Proof video (of your own success if you have to) achieves the same thing. Don't fake testimonials.

    You can also use other people's proof/testimonials in that field. For example, if you are selling an Atkin diet book, point to studies that support it in medical journals, whatever.
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  • Profile picture of the author cosmolito
    Many warriors here are correct - it's NOT a good idea to make up testimonials. It's not ethical. It won't feel good either knowing you're lying to every potential customer who comes to your site. This is not a good way to get started and also if you understand certain laws in this universe such as karma and the law of attraction, you'll realize that in the long run, this strategy will not work very well and in the end you won't be satisfied with the results.

    Best just to sell a good product and ask for testimonials from satisfied customers. It'll have that raw sense of authenticity to it and customers will sense that and feel more at ease which will convert better for you

    Cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author natscash
    Don't make up any testimonials...just ask a few readers...maybe you can find some here on the forum, to read your ebook and write a review about it. As an incentive you can tell them that you will post their website link at the end of their review.
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  • Profile picture of the author HeretohelpU
    Relatively new to all internet nuances especially split testing and testimonials. Ive been asked in the past to do testimonials for a particular product or service and by the time they were done editing it I didn't recognize my own testimonial. But if you are really going to make an impression with people looking to buy something from you you have to be honest with them, because not everyone that uses your product or buys from you will always be satisfied give them both sides and let them make an informed decision.
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  • Profile picture of the author euhlir
    Having dealt with product creators in the past, I can say that a lot of them are either fake, or not entirely true. Product Creators often have other top PC's do their testimonials. They'll send them prewritten testimonials they can use, and I think these are often used.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I found this disclaimer at the end of a sales letter only recently:

    *Testimonials here illustrate extraordinary results and unique experiences. The pictures of people shown are not real customers but are merely photos for illustration purposes only. Testimonial statements are compensated and each persons results will vary and experiences will be different.
    I knew by looking at the pictures that the pictures were not real
    customers but models.

    -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author Lee56
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      I found this disclaimer at the end of a sales letter only recently:
      I knew by looking at the pictures that the pictures were not real
      customers but models.

      -Ray Edwards
      Some use pictures of everyday looking people to make them look real. I see lots of projects posted at Elance for testimonials stating they must be realistic, etc. Maybe when the new FTC law kicks we'll see more honesty.

      One way I've seen marketers get testimonials is to include email in the AR that gets sent to your customer list a two or three days after they order and asks if they downloaded everything ok and such. Fishing indirectly you know. Another way is to just directly ask for feedback. Whenever a customer sends you something that is good testimonial material ask if you may use their first and last name and city and state. This will also give you valuable information about your customers and what they want.

      Before you have customers, you can as it was suggested above, offer your book for free, but again, don't ask for testimonials in exchange or you'll need to write a disclaimer (new FTC laws). Just ask for feedback. Best wishes to you!
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      • Profile picture of the author searchnology
        The new FTC rules are a joke and won't have any teeth. If they really want to protect consumers they should require testimonials/endoresment claims to be verified by a third party. After all isn't that what companies do before they extend credit to consumers? Consumers can make all the claims and provide all the characters references they want but the lender is still going with the credit bureau report.

        The FTC may go after a few large guys to set an example and make themselves feel good, but they are severley under resourced so 99% of the sales page sites you see out there will fly under the radar. They just aren't worth pursuing.

        Also, I believe the benefit to consumers for these new rules will be lackluster at best as there will be oodles of loop holes.

        Example....Everyone knows by now that drug companies are required to disclose the side effects of their latest concoctions but HOW to do they do it?.....they rattle them off at the end using a speed talking specialist or they provide mesmerizing music and imagery to keep you distracted. The same with lenders. I actually caught a speed talking specialist on a radio ad saying that the interest rate for a credit card could go up to 30%!!! I initially had only heard the teaser rate of 5% which was pumped up front.

        And much like the drug company ads, the marketing methods for testimonials/endorsement claims will become so commonplace that you will just ignore them after a while, because consumers will still want the "candy".
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  • Profile picture of the author Scorched Earth
    Many of course are fake. And those that are - are pretty obvious.

    Me:Yes I use testimonials - real ones, from real clients - they are easily verifiable... I like to look myself in the mirror and feel good about myself....

    My advice - always be honest. If what you have done is good the real testimonials will come in time.
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  • Profile picture of the author sanjid112
    Yes, I guess. Many but not all of them are fake. But, that's not a reason to legitimate you using the same method as they are. What I'm doing, usually I give some free copy to my friends, relatives or even my colleagues. After that, I asked them to write honest testimonials about it.

    Testimonials is essential but that's not everything.

    -Malik
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  • Profile picture of the author Jag82
    A lot of testimonials looks fake and feels fake because:

    - They are often generic in nature and lacks specific details of results

    - The testimonials giver seems to be plucked from nowhere. For all
    you know, "they" could simply be a figment of someone's imagination.


    I agree that testimonials are NOT a "must".

    If you can give value + good information within the
    sales page, that really helps (I find that Frank Kern
    and Eben Pagan are excellent at this).
    That said, well-written and specific testimonials will help a lot.
    Especially those given by a person who is credible, well known,
    and highly trusth-worthy.

    Well-constructed social proof can help tip people on the fences
    into buyers.


    You may also want to try out a different form of testimonials
    - photos testimonials making a big (and specific) statement.

    To illustrate, here are a few testimonial examples from
    Joe Polish's Piranha marketing
    students who are in the carpet cleaning niche here:
    => http://joepolish.com/freereport/


    These pictures speak a thousand works isn't it?

    It feels real, believable and highly credible.

    Jag
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    • Profile picture of the author Technista
      Originally Posted by Jag82 View Post

      I agree that testimonials are NOT a "must".

      If you can give value + good information within the
      sales page, that really helps (I find that Frank Kern
      and Eben Pagan are excellent at this).
      That said, well-written and specific testimonials will help a lot.
      Especially those given by a person who is credible, well known,
      and highly trusth-worthy.

      Well-constructed social proof can help tip people on the fences
      into buyers.
      ]
      I agree with Jag82, there is a lot of persuasive power in social proof. And genuine testimonials can build credibility.

      Sadly, I'm not sure that people outside of the IM community can spot a phony testimonial as easily as we can. And even when a testimonial looks "suspect", some will be persuaded by it because they want to justify their interest in buying the product.
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  • Profile picture of the author myonlinebusinessteacher
    Banned
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  • Profile picture of the author eddane
    I don't like using testimonial like on sales letters. It's meaningless because they can be made up so easily.

    Consumers are very sophisticated and see through them.

    Ed
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    • Profile picture of the author coolcrazycool
      Originally Posted by eddane View Post

      I don't like using testimonial like on sales letters. It's meaningless because they can be made up so easily.

      Consumers are very sophisticated and see through them.

      Ed
      I don't agree at all. Real testimonials have a ring of truth around them. You can indeed make up a testimonial, but testimonials that come from clients are very specific and detailed. And if a testimonial is crafted in the right way, it will indeed go a long way to reducing and removing objections.

      When you ask for a testimonial, you're usually saying: Hey (insert name) can you give me a testimonial? Which is a slightly crappy way to ask for a testimonial. Because you're giving the person a zero-chance to respond to the question the way you want them to respond. (Waitasec, isn't this wrong? Why would you want to control the response?) Here's why.

      For one, it's bloody hard to give testimonials. Try giving someone a general testimonial. Now suppose I change the way I construct the question to: Was price a big objection when you considered using our service? Now I've not just got the client to think about a testimonial, but specifically about price. So the customer may say: "No, it wasn't a big objection." Well that sets up the next question. So what was the big objection; what would have caused the hesitation to using our service?

      Now the customer will tell you what the hesitation was.
 But if the objection was indeed 'price', then the customer would go down the road of price.

      So why is all of this 'going down the road' important?
 Well, it's important because a testimonial is not a rah-rah set of words. A testimonial is designed to reduce risk. And increase the like-factor-both simultaneously. So if it doesn't address a single focus (e.g. Price) then the testimonials you receive are all over the place. And when you consider that testimonials are precisely meant to kill objections, then you need to have testimonials killing every objection.

      So if you have a product or service and the main objection to the product or service is the following:
1) Price
 2) Timing
 3) Distance
 4) Whatever...
 5) More whatever... Then the testimonials need to address each and every one of those objections. Rah-rah won't help at all. What will really help, is the construction of the questions.

      As you've heard before; Input=Output. 
The quality of your questions + the direction of your questions is going to determine the quality + direction of your answers. And that's just one tiny-itty-bitty lesson in the secret world of testimonials.

      I read a fair number of your answers, and several of you mentioned that you never read testimonials. Well that's interesting on several fronts, because I can tell you that most of us do read testimonials, whether we like it or not. We may read them as 'reviews' or 'case studies' or even this amazing video...that doesn't look at all like a testimonial...but in fact is an amazing testimonial for this person.

      Kim Komando's Video of the Day Blog Archive Amazing soda shop

      That's only one side of the story. The other side is that "You are NOT your customer". What you think you do, is not what your customer does. I'd seriously doubt that many (if any) of us would buy a book off Amazon, or even a measly 99 cent app from the Apple store without reading at least some of the reviews.

      On our site we track heatmaps of where people stop and where they read stuff. I can tell you (heck I can show you) how people slow down like crazy at a testimonial. Guess what they're doing? They're reading it.

      One of the things that needs to be quicky understood is that testimonials don't stand alone. They are linked directly to objections.

      Here's a tiny report that shows you how your customer thinks. And why you've often got the wrong end of the stick when creating (yes, creating) testimonials.

      http://www.5000bc.com/2009/pdf/000_2...Objections.pdf
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      • Profile picture of the author dorothydot
        "Are many testimonials fake?"

        NOT ON MY TICKET THEY AREN'T!!!
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        • Profile picture of the author CrhisD
          Fake testimonials just aren't worth the time. It's as easy to spot a good person as it is to spot a diamond in a pile of crap. And good people don't (usually) make bad products.
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    • Profile picture of the author llamafier
      Originally Posted by eddane View Post

      I don't like using testimonial like on sales letters. It's meaningless because they can be made up so easily.

      Consumers are very sophisticated and see through them.

      Ed
      I feel this way too when I see a testimonial. It makes me think that they could not possibly trick anyone, but I'm not really sure if that is true.
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    • Profile picture of the author jrogers24
      I would say that most testimonials are fake in that they are either made up, friends or relatives of the person, or they are quite simply bought. That is not to say that all are, and that is not to say that you shouldnt use some of these methods, "fake it til you make it" and replace the friend testimonials with real ones after you have a solid track record. Many people will give you good word of mouth advertising if you have a good enough product.
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  • Profile picture of the author coolcrazycool
    Originally Posted by Mark_w View Post

    I've just about finished writing my first ebook. I have built a site/blog and written most of my sales letter. The only people that have seen the book (98% finished) are my friends.

    I'm not really sure what to do for testimonials. So many out there must be fake, I'm wondering if I should just make some stuff up as well?

    How important are testimonials to the sales letter?

    My ebook is in the travel niche so it is hard to get "trusted" experts to review my product. I honestly wouldn't know where to start!

    Any help would really be appreciated.
    You're never going to succeed if you make up testimonials. You'll be caught out sooner than later, and really it's not worth starting up a business on fraud. There's no reason why your friends can't genuinely comment on your book. There are also forums such as these, where you can post the book (in exchange for a review) and then use the testimonials from there. Testimonials are so easy to get, that you'd be very silly to try and get away with making them up.

    As for your question about "how important" are testimonials? Well go to the Apple AppStore. Most of the apps are just 99 cents. Would you buy any of them without some sort of testimonial? Don't listen to me. Go try it yourself and see. You'll want to see testimonials for sure. So yeah, products need testimonials.
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  • Profile picture of the author manfred11
    testimonials are good though if you begin to fake them now you may be inclined to cheat a lot in your business which may shorten its life span abruptly and will continue to be part of your life.give few copies out for free and then they can make and honest review,you can then take it from there
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  • Profile picture of the author scarpet1
    I believe the FTC has been working on this issue for a while. Fake testimonials? I am surprised you even ask if it is right.
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  • Profile picture of the author scarpet1
    Are Many Testimonials Fake? Are many products given out for free and then testimonials submitted? What is a fake Testi? Is it a testimonial that you have used something when you haven't? How many testimonials have friends given friends stuff without even looking at it. I think this forum is pretty good because so many real testimonials are created in the WSO section. I think that is kinda what the WSOstarted out to be---a testimonial generator for the product and initial feedback.
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    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by scarpet1 View Post

      What is a fake Testi?
      It's when I have a product on backlinking, and I stick in my sales letter:

      "This is an awesome product! I learned so much, it's amazing. Caliban Darklock is an awesome writer with massive genitalia who is probably smarter than Einstein. - Sally Jackson"

      Except there is no Sally Jackson. I made her up, and wrote the testimonial myself. Maybe I stick a stock photo on the page and pretend it's her picture.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Peters Benn
    I don't always use testimonials because the product usually sells out so fast anyway. However, if I do require testimonials I approach my platinum member / inner circle and purchasers list and give out review copies.

    It seems to work for me, but if you don't have testimonials, go ahead without them - far better than procrastinating.
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  • Profile picture of the author mghowell
    Great testimonials should be real. If you need testimonials I would recommend a customer survey to find out what they think about your product
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  • Profile picture of the author It Should Be Easy
    I would say that testimonials actually hurts since I without thinking about it consider them fake
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  • Profile picture of the author Prestigio
    I think that one thing you have to consider is the niche of the product, and target audience.

    Sure, people who frequent this forum might have a cynical view of the testimonials on salespages, but would Joe Public have such a cynical view?
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  • Profile picture of the author superaffiliate007
    Well, you shouldn't say it testimonials...you can say it as reviews which are better nowadays!

    Or you can say - beta testers. As testimonials are no longer effective

    Also do give free copy to your JV Partner to add more reviews and testimonials.


    And don't forget to say thanks to me
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidO
    The only "real" testimonial is an unsolicited one from a paying customer.

    Giving away copies for so-called independent reviews does not make genuine testimonials. There is a deal going on: I give you a free copy for a (positive) review.

    Other fake testimonials are the ones that are generated from a small clique of like-minded people.

    On this basis the vast majority of testimonials are fake.

    My advice is to wait until customers send you genuine testimonials. In the meantime you can learn to sell without them.

    This doesn't have to be hard because testimonials are way over-rated. Videos of visitor behavior from Clicktale show that very few of my visitors even read them. In fact, I'm about to take an axe to my testimonial section. I'll cut them down to quick "soundbites" and pepper them around the copy.

    Try selling your ebook without testimonials until you get real ones. One way you can do this is to use expert quotations that support your product or offer (but that don't mention them specifically). With a little skill you can work these into your copy in a way that supports your product by implication.

    If your product is good it won't be long until you get genuine testimonials. If you don't, it may mean you need to rethink your product or offer.

    As a last resort to get the product moving you can do an "introductory offer" that's almost impossible to resist. As long as it comes from a paying customer (even if only $1) and it's unsolicited it's a good tesimonial.
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  • Profile picture of the author PPV Affiliate
    I used to consult for one of the better known information marketing courses out there and I can say that the testimonials they used were not exactly truthful. It was kind of disappointing to learn actually. When I made my own product I decided to not use any testimonials.
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  • Profile picture of the author KathleenHobbins
    I never read testimonials.

    But, as others have said, it's very easy to get legitimate ones. If you have a site, invite people to check out your book pre-publication for the cost of a testimonial. If you have a list, do the same. If you don't have either, post your request on this forum.

    You don't need expert book reviewers or experts in your field. You just want intelligent readers.

    I'll do it if you want me to.
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  • Profile picture of the author The_Slippery_Pie
    I don't believe most testimonials anymore. They're all so common and similar, I'm led to believe they're not so genuine anymore. I could be wrong though. This is only my personal opinion.
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  • Profile picture of the author scfc16
    I think a large majority of testimonials are fake. I work as a fulltime copywriter, and it's very common to recieve orders for them !
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  • Profile picture of the author attorneydavid
    I'd say on google places most of the testimonials are fake or either at least requested. I'm an attorney so you can pull volume data on most of my competitors and the guys with alot of testimonials usually make no sense. Also all their testimonials are these 2 paragraph opuses that look like a copywriter wrote them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fahmod
    In real life, if you're selling, a testimonial would be called a reference. There are many different types:

    - Public references
    - Contact by phone
    - Allow site visits
    - Only Name drops
    - ...etc.

    If you turn this around for an online business, I many times wonder why
    testimonials are just so poorly plugged-in, screaming out "I'm a fake testo ..." ...

    Why not make options available to contact 'references' to verify in some way?

    Of cause that depends on the nature of business, especially since we are talking
    about a number game at large amounts of hits etc.

    But just something which crossed my mind.
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  • Profile picture of the author Flareman
    Whenever people ask about testimonials and how much it impacts sales. I get reminded of the fat loss for idiots website. It breaks all salesletter rules and conventions and doesn't have a single testimonial. Yet it is one of the most successful sales letter and product to date!
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  • Profile picture of the author WickedWally
    I've just about finished writing my first ebook. I have built a site/blog and written most of my sales letter. The only people that have seen the book (98% finished) are my friends.
    Good job on writing your first ebook!

    Now the REAL WORK begins...

    (hopefully you did product research before you wrote the book)


    I'm not really sure what to do for testimonials. So many out there must be fake, I'm wondering if I should just make some stuff up as well?

    Yes. There are many faked testimonials out there. MANY.

    There's even one internet marketing gooroo whose initials are R.B. I've got screen captures of his fake testimonials.

    It won't be a fun day for him if I decide to release it.


    How important are testimonials to the sales letter?
    Super dooper important.


    My ebook is in the travel niche so it is hard to get "trusted" experts to review my product. I honestly wouldn't know where to start!

    Any help would really be appreciated.
    Sure buddy.

    Go to popular travel blogs;
    (And ask the blog owners for a review)

    Go to amazon.com look for travel writers;
    (Contact them and ask for a review. Most people would say YES.)

    Go to forums/discussion groups of avid travellers;
    (Get a handful of people to gather around... and say I've just written a book on travelling I would like to get your feedback in exchange I'll give you the book free of charge.)

    Once you are done you should have at least 7 to 8 reviews which are honest from people who have your product (and include your friends' reviews as well)...

    Then you can go back to the people you approached and ask if they would like to promote your book in exchange for a cut.

    Done.... for now.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    I'm just now finished compiling FORTY PAGES of testimonials for a client.

    Yes, 40 pages... all verifiably true and accurate, linked directly to the person
    providing the testimonial..

    Is having that Proof-A-Palooza gonna make a difference in my ability to
    close the sale? ABSO-FRIGGIN-LUTELY.

    Never let the seedy underbelly of IM undermine the core principles of
    effective selling - and testimonials are ALWAYS going to be an important
    part of selling anything.

    Can you sell effectively without them? Of course you can, and you will.
    Sometimes you have to...

    But you'll always wish you had them... because they MATTER.

    Best,

    Brian

    P.S. Obviously, I'm not gonna use 40 pages of testimonials on the sales letter.
    This is for a supplemental document that goes out to all opt-ins during
    the pre-launch.
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  • Profile picture of the author AFI
    Mine are all real and from actual members of this forum. I believe in honesty and customer service are the two most important things in dealing with customers. Without either of those, you are screwed.
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  • Profile picture of the author sparckyz
    IMO you just can't trust them. I just don't let them influence my decision either way, but i usually have an idea of whether i want the product or service beforehand anyways.
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  • Profile picture of the author LandingMatch
    I never fake testimonials. Sincerity and truth are top values in my opinion. If you will lie to yourself and your customers, I really believe that your abundance will have a major block...
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  • Profile picture of the author MarkWidawer
    With the new FTC regulations (New FTC Marketing Guidelines — The Five Things You Must Know | Traffic and Conversion) it's definitely NOT okay to make up testimonials.
    It was suggested above to give away your book to people on this forum and ask for testimonials. If you do that, the FTC says you need to disclose that they got the product for free. Not a deal-breaker, but just make sure you do that.
    --Mark

    p.s. By the way, here's a bit of advice for you. If you want testimonials, SO WHAT! Start now and publish your sales page WITHOUT TESTIMONIALS. Then when you've got some, add them onto the page and split test the results.
    Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    With the new FTC regulations (New FTC Marketing Guidelines -- The Five Things You Must Know | Traffic and Conversion) it's definitely NOT okay to make up testimonials.
    It has always been illegal to make up testimonials. It is false advertising.

    And an important point is that the impact of a testimonial very much depends on the industry and the selling environment. As you can see from the comments here, many Warriors are skeptical of testimonials. However, Warriors (and particularly those who post in a copywriting forum) are not typical of the public at large. Within a business-to-business context, it would so obviously be suicidal to make up testimonials that when you see testimonials from people who provide their full name, job title and company name, they are almost always accepted by the intended audience as credible commentary.

    Marcia Yudkin
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  • Profile picture of the author kimwriter
    Originally Posted by Mark_w View Post

    I've just about finished writing my first ebook. I have built a site/blog and written most of my sales letter. The only people that have seen the book (98% finished) are my friends.

    I'm not really sure what to do for testimonials. So many out there must be fake, I'm wondering if I should just make some stuff up as well?

    How important are testimonials to the sales letter?

    My ebook is in the travel niche so it is hard to get "trusted" experts to review my product. I honestly wouldn't know where to start!

    Any help would really be appreciated.

    Don't make up stuff. Give away a few to respected reviewers (you can find some right here on Warrior) and use those reviews on your site to begin with. Offer a discount to the few buyers in exchange for testimonials and you are good to go...
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  • Profile picture of the author atrbiz
    I've seen several listings online in which a male or female model will create a fake youtube review of a product/service.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rex.T
    In fact, I would use that as a reason why they should buy NOW...

    ...since you need some testimonial, what better way than to have it from happy customers, and you're willing to bend over backwards to offer them a huge discount in order for them to try it out, and send you a testimonial after that. After all, what have they got to lose? If there are at all unhappy with your product in any way, they are fully protected by your iron clad money back guarantee.

    Once you have enough testimonials, of course you'll pull this offer down, and there'll be no further discounts.
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  • Profile picture of the author BBryanB
    Yes they are !! Testimonials represent a real land mine.

    I use them, very sparingly and even then, I am not too sure what good they do me.

    Making them up is not a good idea, its a slippery slope. where do you stop?

    The process of getting legitimate testimonials is helpful in itself, gives you legitimate feedback that is invaluable.

    Bryan
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  • Profile picture of the author Martin2010
    Yes most of them are which is a shame but if you have these on your sales page then it add a little more respect for what they are selling but in short they are just pulling the wool over your eyes.
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