First things first:
65.2% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
So, yes, I'm pulling the 98% part out of thin air...based solely on my personal experience with salesletters...and a new law to be put in place by the FTC shortly.
Here's the new FTC rule: You can't use a testimonial or promise results that are not typical...without telling your customers what the typical results are.
That includes any portion of your advertisement...including testimonials, headlines, guarantee's, etc.
1. If you decide to reveal an "extreme result" for your product, you have to disclose just HOW EXTREME the result was over the typical results. (i.e. Jared lost 245 pounds eating S***** sandwiches...but 99% of people who eat at S***** actually gain 40 pounds.) <- I made this up...it's just an example.
2. All celebrities will have to reveal their monetary involvement in companies before promoting a product.
3. All Blogs have to reveal that they were given free products to review...before promoting them.
4. Doctors have to reveal the extent to which they have used the product and their understanding of the products benefits.
Now, before everyone jumps in and says "First Amendment Violation", let's face the facts...the Constitution has been attacked (trampled on in some cases) for decades...and the wind isn't changing any time too soon.
If you'd like to know more about this new law...there is a pretty good archive piece in the Chicago Tribune: Federal Trade Commission's plan to change rules on ad endorsements, testimonials worries marketers - Chicago Tribune
Want to see some of the actual laws that will be amended:
What's the creative solution to this problem?
I'd love to hear your input...
One company immediately came to mind...Trump University.
One of the things they do in their $10,000+ coaching class is to "fire" any customers who don't follow the steps by a certain date...which insures that they can at least get an edge with testimonials...and make some great claims about the people who actually DID the effort.
What are your thoughts...ideas...?
Eventually this is going to be on our "front porch", so we might as well "grab the gun".
P.S. I didn't even go down the road of affiliate issues...that is another whole ball of wax. Goodbye review sites...