Buying a service online can sometimes be a lottery. And if that company has glowing testimonials, they must be good, mustn’t they? The answer to that may well be ‘No’!
Not from a verifiable source? Don’t trust it!
When you find a company online, check out their client testimonials. If they are from an anonymous source, we recommend you look elsewhere. Any testimonial from the ‘Marketing Manger’ of ‘a major supplier’, or from a XYZ ‘Consultant’ could well be a work of fiction. They might as well come from Miss X of Bangor, and you know what her reputation is like!
Testimonials can only be taken seriously if they are from a verifiable source … that is a real person, from a real live company. And if you have any doubts, give them a call and double check.
Testimonial plagiarism scam!
If this sounds cynical, here’s a scam we’ve recently come across. We were checking our website for plagiarism using Copyscape, a specialised application based on Google’s Search Engine. Electronic copy can be very easily stolen and how would you ever know? By running a check, that’s how.
And that’s just what we did. To our total amazement, it wasn’t any of our own copy which had been stolen, it was one of our testimonials! The original is on our website and states our client’s name, company, and a link to their site. We’ve spoken to our client, who assures us he was the original author.
So how did an almost word for word copy turn up on a large London-based branding company’s website? Is it any wonder their testimonial came from an anonymous source? Of course not … it couldn’t be attributed to a real person, because it wasn’t real, it wasn’t factual … it was STOLEN!
More stolen testimonials
We dug a little deeper and found at least one other fake testimonial on the company’s website and another which is suspect. This is morally indefensible.
Here is a large London branding and website development company with a very high-profile MD who, if personally innocent of plagiarism, is clearly guilty of not keeping his finger on the corporate pulse.
So ‘Mr X from London’, you can expect a formal letter of complaint. And we will expect an explanation, apology, and removal of any bogus testimonials stolen by your company or your employees. Unless of course you decide to do nothing … in which case we might be forced to ‘name and shame’.
You can check out your online copy for plagiarism by visiting www.copyscape.com.
Blog post by Joy McCarthy