Paying For Testimonials?! Unbelievable... or is it?

by kenzik
43 replies
Just saw this in another thread..."I'll pay $3 for each testimonial. 10 testimonials needed."

What do you think? Is it reasonable to pay someone for their time to write the testimonial? Does it taint the testimonial (even if they truly like it)? Or is it simply just reasonable compensation for someone taking time out of their day to craft their thoughts for you?

I love it when customers send me unsolicited e-mails about loving the product they get from me. That hits me right in the feel-goods. I'm not sure I would feel the same if I knew I paid my customers first.

I suppose this particular person is in the chicken-egg dilemma of thinking they can't sell the product without testimonials, but they can't get testimonials without selling the product.

What say you?
#paying #testimonials #unbelievable
  • Kenzik,

    You are right, having paid testimonials does take all the magic out of them. I would strive for the real thing, especially if at some point a customer tries to investigate to see if the testimonials you have are the real deal.

    Another thing, the average testimonial is probably 30 to 40 words so 3 dollars for something of that length seems astronomically high.

    Heres some good tips on getting real ones,

    Are You Paying For Customer Testimonials?

    Great thread,

    Shawn
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    • Profile picture of the author kenzik
      Originally Posted by TheContentAuthority View Post

      Kenzik,

      You are right, having paid testimonials does take all the magic out of them. I would strive for the real thing, especially if at some point a customer tries to investigate to see if the testimonials you have are the real deal.

      Another thing, the average testimonial is probably 30 to 40 words so 3 dollars for something of that length seems astronomically high.

      Heres some good tips on getting real ones,

      Are You Paying For Customer Testimonials?

      Great thread,

      Shawn
      Interesting article. I like the idea that your customers do have great things to say, but need a little prodding in order to get them to actually do it.

      That being said, I still like having customers send me e-mails unsolicited. It's ten times more powerful and helps you truly know that you are providing a great service.
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  • Profile picture of the author Benjamin Ehinger
    I think if you have to pay for testimonials, your product must not be all that good. In my experience good products produce their own testimonials.

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    • Profile picture of the author bluebagger
      Originally Posted by Benjamin Ehinger View Post

      I think if you have to pay for testimonials, your product must not be all that good. In my experience good products produce their own testimonials.

      Benjamin Ehinger
      These are my thoughts as well
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  • Profile picture of the author Newbiemarketer76
    Really, I thought this was a "really, you have to think about" subject.

    Again folks, the bigger idiot theory is at work.
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  • Profile picture of the author Troy_Phillips
    I wonder if they would pay me to testify their product or service was the biggest piece of crap I have ever tested? I seldom do reviews for Warriors for the fact .. a lot of the time i don't want to hurt their feelings. But if they are stupid enough to pay for it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Young Financier
    The world's biggest companies do it. I don't see what's wrong with a little guy doing it. Is it believable? That depends on you. Big companies convince people that celebrities are using their products, so again, why can't the little guy be believable also?
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    • Profile picture of the author vicdublin
      I must confess, I was gobsmacked the first day I learnt that most testmonials are fake. In my opinion, this is not just misleading but deceitful.
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    • Profile picture of the author MissTerraK
      Originally Posted by Sean T Alexandre View Post

      The world's biggest companies do it. I don't see what's wrong with a little guy doing it. Is it believable? That depends on you. Big companies convince people that celebrities are using their products, so again, why can't the little guy be believable also?
      The little guy can be believable if he is honest and trustworthy.

      If the little guy pays people to give glowing testimonials and the actual service or product does not live up to what the testimonials portray, word will get out. People listen to their trusted friends and colleges.

      What happens? The little guy isn't believable and doesn't have a shot at becoming a medium sized guy let alone a big guy.

      Bad move in my opinion.

      Terra
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      • Profile picture of the author cashp0wer
        I just think this is wrong somehow in any way you look at it. That's just me though and if someone pays for them then that's okay for them.
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        • Profile picture of the author Troy_Phillips
          Originally Posted by cashp0wer View Post

          I just think this is wrong somehow in any way you look at it. That's just me though and if someone pays for them then that's okay for them.
          If a big company pays an actor they are required to say so either in text or that real fast talker at the end.If I am not wrong the FTC requires the same thing from a website owner.

          I agree with you .. if they are not giving the disclaimer but it hurts all of us who do it right if the disclaimer is not there.
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      • Profile picture of the author Young Financier
        Originally Posted by MissTerraK View Post

        The little guy can be believable if he is honest and trustworthy.

        If the little guy pays people to give glowing testimonials and the actual service or product does not live up to what the testimonials portray, word will get out. People listen to their trusted friends and colleges.

        What happens? The little guy isn't believable and doesn't have a shot at becoming a medium sized guy let alone a big guy.

        Bad move in my opinion.

        Terra
        Big companies often pay celebrities for glowing testimonials and their products don't live up to the hype. But because of people's sheep-like mentality, they still flock to the product. Same thing can be used to the little guy's advantage too.
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        • Profile picture of the author MissTerraK
          Originally Posted by Sean T Alexandre View Post

          Big companies often pay celebrities for glowing testimonials and their products don't live up to the hype. But because of people's sheep-like mentality, they still flock to the product. Same thing can be used to the little guy's advantage too.
          Except the little guy can't afford to pay for television and major magazine ad campaigns utilizing celebrities.

          Besides, if I see a commercial with a celebrity praising a product, I understand the company hired them for the commercial and they are paid to act upon a script. I understand how that all works. Don't you? :confused:

          Terra
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          • Profile picture of the author Young Financier
            Originally Posted by MissTerraK View Post

            Except the little guy can't afford to pay for television and major magazine ad campaigns utilizing celebrities.

            Besides, if I see a commercial with a celebrity praising a product, I understand the company hired them for the commercial and they are paid to act upon a script. I understand how that all works. Don't you? :confused:

            Terra
            Don't talk to me like I'm stupid. It'll only have the opposite effect.

            My point OBVIOUSLY is that if its okay for the big companies to use paid "testimonials" to sell products, its also okay for little guy. I don't see what's so hard to understand about that.
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            • Profile picture of the author Ben Gordon
              Both sides have a point.

              I believe giving an incentive for a true customer's opinion (whether positive or negative) is fine. However, buying out people and making them give biased testimonials they may not agree with is NOT fine.

              As long as the customer is still entitled to their own opinion this practice is acceptable.

              Originally Posted by MissTerraK View Post

              Except the little guy can't afford to pay for television and major magazine ad campaigns utilizing celebrities.

              Besides, if I see a commercial with a celebrity praising a product, I understand the company hired them for the commercial and they are paid to act upon a script. I understand how that all works. Don't you? :confused:

              Terra
              Originally Posted by Sean T Alexandre View Post

              Don't talk to me like I'm stupid. It'll only have the opposite effect.

              My point OBVIOUSLY is that if its okay for the big companies to use paid "testimonials" to sell products, its also okay for little guy. I don't see what's so hard to understand about that.
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  • Profile picture of the author JRVogt
    Here's my two shiny bits, whatever they're worth. Paying for testimonials isn't wrong in and of itself.

    Think of it this way. If you're offered a free product or program for review purposes, and you agree to post a review in exchange for the materials received...aren't you, in some sense, being compensated for the time you're taking to review it? How is that different than being paid a few bucks?

    Where does it cross the line into shady dealings? When someone pays for "positive testimonials only" or isn't forthcoming about the fact that the two incredibly positive reviews that were made public came from a pool of twenty people, 18 of which outright hated the thing (which plenty people/companies do of course).

    It's all about context...which, unless you're an insider on that particular marketing campaign, we're simply not privy to.
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  • Profile picture of the author Enzo Reyn
    I think every new product launch need some paid testimonials,paid can be in sense if you get the products for non cost just fora review..
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  • Profile picture of the author JRVogt
    Maybe just switch "paid" for "compensation" in these circumstances. Opens it up to a wider variety of options.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    Just saw this in another thread..."I'll pay $3 for each testimonial. 10 testimonials needed."
    Thank you. That thread has been deleted.


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  • Profile picture of the author icoachu
    Check the FTC rules. Not a good move. Also, if there's even a WHIFF of conflict of interest-avoid like the plague.
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  • Profile picture of the author Punsak
    I think real testimonial with good feeling about any product worth more than fake testimonial. For me as product creator ,I feel good to see that there are a lot of people love my product, it encourage me to produce another good one.
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  • Profile picture of the author Colin Palfrey
    They would be reviews, not testimonials.

    There is a difference.
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  • Profile picture of the author J. Barry Mandel
    I posted something about this a while back, a guy generated 6 figures from an Amazon book review business he put together, yup, all from hiring ghostwriters to post fake reviews.

    And a vast number of the book reviews he had written by his team became top sellers...he wouldn't just have 1 or 2 reviews for a new book, he'd have MANY.

    At the end of the video I saw he said 7 out of 10 reviews on Amazon are all FAKE

    I think he actually got jail time from it

    I say it's B.S. that people get scammed like this and there should be some sort of major penalty if someone gets caught pulling the wool over someones eyes :rolleyes:

    Originally Posted by kenzik View Post


    What say you?
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      • Paid testimonials
      • Compensated testimonials (in exchange for a book, product)
      • Friend & family testimonials
      • Good 'old boy testimonials & reviews (I'll do you a favor if you'll do likewise)
      • Reviews by affiliates
      • Reviews by friends, family and neighbors
      • Reviews by folks who haven't used a product
      • Reviews by ego-centric fame mongers that want to see their names and opinions online

      [ Note to self: did I just expose 95% of the WSO posts? Ah, but i digress . . .]

      All are suspect because of the "perceived" or potential enrichment or favor of the reviewer. No doubt, in some cases, the review/testimonial is legitimate. The giver really did like/use/review/benefit from the product in question.

      The real dilemma for the potential buyer is determining what is truthful and what is BS. If anyone can do that with 100% certainty - please step forward.

      The best I think we can do . . . is to put trust, or not, in the seller (that he is ethical, truthful and honest) . . . and use that God-given lump of mass between our ears.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author onegoodman
    Paid reviews = faked reviews.

    People assume no one well know, the truth is everybody can tell a fake review when they see one
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    • Profile picture of the author RogueOne
      I've said this before but I seem to be in the minority.

      I pay no attention to testimonials, reviews, FB likes, etc. In my eyes they are all "fake."

      It's like a magician trying to convince another magician that magic is real.

      As posted above, good products create testimonials and I always use real ones, because I'm not marketing to other magicians.
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    • Profile picture of the author celente
      Originally Posted by onegoodman View Post

      Paid reviews = faked reviews.

      People assume no one well know, the truth is everybody can tell a fake review when they see one
      I doubt that, I guess you could somehow tell, but never be 100% sure.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rodney Gold
    Banned
    If you are paying for a testimonial then that should says TONS about the product. Ill leave it at that. You can easily get free testimonials if you give your product away for free in order to get a testimonial.
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
      If someone is paying for and using fake testimonials they should be hung, drawn and quartered

      .....then eaten.
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
        Ummm... Some folks are getting snarky when there's no need.

        There is a significant legal difference between a paid spokesperson (Alex Trebeck/Colonial Penn), a paid endorser (Jennifer Hudson/Weight Watchers), and a standard customer testimonial (Joe Schlabotnik <3 Bob's Burgers).

        Legally and ethically, there is no problem if the nature of the relationship between the speaker and the company is clearly and honestly disclosed. Fake testimonials don't fit that standard, so they are a problem.

        This is not rocket science.


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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    I heard by a famous direct marketer that you should never fake the testimonials. I wonder if "paying" for them with money is the same thing as a fake testimonial.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fraggler
    I've found feedback surveys are a great way to encourage your customers to give you honest feedback - and the best part is it helps you improve your product and service at the same time. The negative comments are atleast as important as the positive ones so why filter them out by incentivising feedback?

    I've found that quite a few people will be happy to sing your praise if given a natural opportunity that doesn't feel forced.

    You can get the good, the bad, and also future product/service ideas from a well constructed survey and when you get some comments you would like to promote simply ask for permission to do so.
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  • Profile picture of the author tac88
    Please do not get me wrong I think that it is not a good thing to pay for testimonials but we all have done it. Ever receive a review product or give one ? Ever see a bad review ? I have surely seen many good reviews on bad products !
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  • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
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  • Profile picture of the author CaesarSEO
    I would call the guy a scammer if he paid for testimonials.

    Because on Warrior Forum people buy stuff a lot of times based on testimonials. So someone using paid/fake testimonials can only be called a scammer/thief.

    These guys won't last long anyways.

    I actually think some people even create fake accounts to put fake testimonials. That's why I only care about the reviews from people who have a good number of posts AND a War Room membership on my WSOs.

    I could care less about reviews from people with 3 posts or who have just joined because I could have faked them myself, of course I don't because I don't need to.

    If you have a good product/service, reviews will come in no while you sleep. POINT.
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  • Profile picture of the author whland
    I will never pay for testimonials. I prefer to get genuine testimonials from genuine happy clients that are genuinely happy with my service.

    There will never be any incentives to anyone to write testimonials for my company.

    I'd prefer to have no testimonials than a bunch of reviews that someone was paid to write.

    Chad
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    • Profile picture of the author Madam X
      I never buy any products that are endorsed by celebrities. It's not like I purposefully decide not to buy them - it's just that they're usually not good products. I just shake my head sadly when I see a celebrity slapping a logo on their head. I suppose that the sheeple buy & buy. The thinking person may not buy.

      As far as WF is concerned, a few of the gurus' here endorse products that they have obviously never tried & they're less than mediocre. I make a mental note of that & won't listen to them again.

      Actually, I usually never read the testimonials on the WF. I just scroll down the Sales Page & see if I think it's worthwhile - or not.

      Madam X
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      • Profile picture of the author Madam X
        Looks like someone is planning to capitalize on the fact that it's become increasingly difficult to get a REAL review of anything online.

        They're coming out with a new WSO called, "Negative Nancy CPA". (I have no connection whatsoever with the creator or his marketing.) As much as I can figure out so far - this WSO will teach you how to take CPA offers for tangible goods and write negative reviews about them.

        I don't do CPA offers right now - so, it's not something I'm looking to buy. But, I think that it'd be just as difficult to "Fake" a bad review as it would be to fake a good review.

        So, most of us will be able to read the fake reviews & not pay any attention to them as well as the positive reviews. Nothing changes.

        MX
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  • Profile picture of the author ccole
    Paying for testimonials is just wrong. It is still best to receive testimonials from people who really used the product and are happy with your service. Nothing beats receiving this kind of comment from a customer: "Your product and services are second to none..."

    Testimonials are done by ordinary individuals who are satisfied with either a product or a service. "Endorsement" maybe is the right word for celebrities promoting a product or a service.

    -Christian
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  • Profile picture of the author H.Miller
    I think its a bad idea to pay for testimonials. They would be better off giving away a few copies of their product in exchange for testimonials. That way it would be real, genuine feedback.
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  • Profile picture of the author FantaMan
    If your paying for testimonials then you or your product really isn't that good! How unfair would it be if we all paid for fake reviews an then expected to be earning loads of $$$$
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  • Profile picture of the author denysapu
    Wicked idea, may be useful if you actually do have a valuable product or services.
    The actual customer will send you actual review. If you are aiming to get long-term success, then at least you need to have a great product before paying someone to testimonials.
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