Results 1 to 29 of 29
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1,128

    Fake testimonials

    I just visited a hosting website from a WHT member, and I found some really shady business practices here.

    There is a testimonial on all of their pages that says they've been with this company for a year, but the company is only several months old and the website is even younger. Even worse, I did a whois on this domain, and the hosting company OWNS THE DOMAIN! So there is a completely fake testimonial, written by the company. Even worse, they have another testimonial which is a subdomain of the domain.

    I don't want to tell everybody the name of the company, since they post here sometimes and don't want to bring their name in the mud since I've never used them, but I simply find this apalling. I emailed the questioning about this, and am waiting to here what they have to say.

    I feel that is a host doesn't have any real testimonials, they shouldn't post any. I guess that there isn't anything that I can do, but I just find that really sleazy. What are your feelings on this, and fake testimonials in general?
    Daily Updated Web Hosting News Blog
    Including an RSS feed that you can syndicate!
    Daily Updated Web Hosting News Blog
    Unlimited vs. Unmetered bandwidth

  2. #2
    As with eBay, once you gain a reputation, opportunists would come knocking. But do keep us posted of their response to your query - they might have a legitimate explanation. Thanks.
    "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

  3. #3

    Re: Fake testimonials

    Originally posted by HostingInsider
    I just visited a hosting website from a WHT member, and I found some really shady business practices here.
    Seems like those practices have been going around lately.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney Australia
    Posts
    81
    Does anyone really put much weight on testimonials by miscellaneous people? I thought it was generally treated as a given that these aren't going to be terribly unbiased. I would much rather read forums, where -- at least in the past -- there was a good chance of getting all manner of opinions: from honest and fair, to dishonest and biased. Unfortunately, companies cottoned on to the use of forums as a trusted source of information, and started paying people to fake that too, all hail the advent of effective Astroturfing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    2,361
    I have nothing wrong against fake testiomonials.

    Customers should be smart to not trust it.

    I am for all bending the rules.

  6. #6
    Yes, testimonials carry little weight with prudent clients. However, if a host would resort to fake testimonials, it would not take much for them to fall into other unethical practices.
    "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

  7. #7
    Well our testimonials are all real. But end of the day, yes, you should get information from multi source in order to make the points more balanced.
    Like us on Facebook to qualify for discounts!
    http://www.sprintserve.net
    Offering: | Internap FCP Bandwidth! | Rebootless Kernel Updates! | Magento Optimized Hosting | Wordpress Hosting |
    Services: | Managed Multiple Cores 64bit Servers | Server Management |

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1,128
    Does anyone really put much weight on testimonials by miscellaneous people? I thought it was generally treated as a given that these aren't going to be terribly unbiased. I would much rather read forums, where -- at least in the past -- there was a good chance of getting all manner of opinions: from honest and fair, to dishonest and biased. Unfortunately, companies cottoned on to the use of forums as a trusted source of information, and started paying people to fake that too, all hail the advent of effective Astroturfing.
    I wasn't saying that I rely on testimonials to choose a hosting company (or any company), but it still bothers me that hosts post fake ones.

    I have nothing wrong against fake testiomonials.

    Customers should be smart to not trust it.

    I am for all bending the rules.
    I think that's a very bad attitude to have. It is unethical to post fake testimonials. If a host doesn't have any legit testimonials, they should wait until they have happy customers who will submit one before they start posting them.


    Yes, testimonials carry little weight with prudent clients. However, if a host would resort to fake testimonials, it would not take much for them to fall into other unethical practices.

    I feel exactly the same way as you. I don't consider testimonials when choosing a company, but it is an unethical business practice and takes away all of my trust in that company.
    Daily Updated Web Hosting News Blog
    Including an RSS feed that you can syndicate!
    Daily Updated Web Hosting News Blog
    Unlimited vs. Unmetered bandwidth

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Posts
    542
    Fake testimonials are unethical and in conventional business would probably qualify as illegal being "false advertising", "unfair business practices" and/or other violations of the UCC (universal commercial code) but IANAL.

    I'm not shocked that some hosts would use fake testimonials or other shady business practices.  But I am shocked that a host would publicly state they feel there is nothing wrong doing do and simply caveat emptor.  (Then again, WHT does have the shady reputation as 'home of the kiddie hosts' that are really hobbiests and not business people.)

     

    Originally posted by hellind2
    I have nothing wrong against fake testiomonials.

    Customers should be smart to not trust it.

    I am for all bending the rules.
    Voicegateway.com Web Services - High-performance Hosting & Fully Managed Servers
    Specializing in Virtual Machine Hosting with Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2, Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft SQL Server 2005, ASP.NET 2.0 hosting and Newsletter/Mailing list services

  10. #10
    Testimonials help sell so it would not surprise me that a new company faked some. It is very prudent of you to look more closely at them and use this information to rate them. The best thing would be to talk to some of the companies about their experiences.

    Of course, just because the hosting company's domain etc. is young doesn't mean that the company is new.

    I would be most bothered about the domain name being in the name of the hosting company though. If the client is an independant company I would consider this a more shady practice.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    87
    Does seem more shady than most.

    I have yet to see a testimonial on a site that doesn;t rave about them (but who expects someone to put an article trashing them onto their sales site?)
    I've made testimonials before, then ended up on staff afterwards.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,211
    I never pay attention to testimonials anyway, I doubt pre-customers do either. It's a very bad way to gauge any sort of impression of a companies business practises. Generally i'll research a company first before deciding to do business with them.

    And I agree with the user above, it's definitly a bad out look if you don't have a problem with fake testimonials, makes me wonder about your site!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney Australia
    Posts
    81
    I don't think fake testimonials are illegal, so long as it is understood that they are not real people, perhaps with only context being the necessary disclosure. I am not singling out hosting companies with my comments, after all it's a new industry and the practice of fake testimonials has been around since the advent of advertising.

    As community developed consumer resources go, in Australia there is a rather nice website devoted to local broadband called Whirlpool. Both companies and customers participate in making in a valuable place to visit.

    I'm rather a newbie on the topic of webhosting, but one thing I currently consider extremely important is uptime. I came across a site which posted uptimes, but it was not really a conclusive resource. Are the more and better versions of this sort of thing out there?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    294
    This happens in he movie industry all the time. How many times have you seen an ad for a real dog of a movie with all kinds of rave review quotes? If you look into it further, the raves come from completely unknown sources that are often just newsletters publshed for the sole purpose of creating quotes for movie ads. Some of the newsletter are actually owned by the studios.

    But, the marketing works and the movies sell (at least the first weekend). If people were not affected by this kind of promotion, the big guns wouldn't be using it.

    All of that said, we choose not to do that on our own site. We don't have any quotes at all on our current site and the ones we had on the older versions were legitimate quotes from customers.
    Mark Oberg
    Techweenies.com

    (No longer affiliated with Uneedawebsite.com)

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,905
    I've seen a few companies rip entire testimonials and just remove the domain name. That is probably worse than faking!

    I think original testiomonals made by real clients, published with their full name and their website can give you some bonus points from a potential customer. Potential customers love to see other customer sites, especially if they are similar to what he/she plans to host.
    Last edited by Yash-JH; 05-30-2005 at 06:41 AM.
    init.me - Build, Share & Embed

    JodoHost.com - Windows VPS Hosting, ASP.NET and SQL Server Hosting
    8th year in Business, 200+ Servers. Microsoft Gold Certified Partner

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Woking, England
    Posts
    1,396
    Most real testimonals are BS anyway. You get asked to do them days within getting your account, when nothing has gone wrong & the support is still good.
    Web Handyman - Website and Internet Marketing Service

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    1,582
    I think it's been said over and over but it is really challenging to separate the wheat from the chaff with testimonials. I find it particularly unethical for web hosts who fabricate testimonials or even create sites that review themselves favorably and then advertise their own review site. Getting back to testimonials in general, I find it even difficult to filter hear on WHT with folks who are earnest because some testimonials give either limited good or bad experiences and may not represent the general tenor of a company. It takes a lot of time and effort to start to get some clarity on companies that have relatively good reputations.
    Rich
    WebsiteMaven - Web Hosting Reviews, Guides, and Advice to Build and Promote your Web Site

  18. #18

    Re: Fake testimonials

    Originally posted by HostingInsider
    I feel that is a host doesn't have any real testimonials, they shouldn't post any. I guess that there isn't anything that I can do, but I just find that really sleazy. What are your feelings on this, and fake testimonials in general?
    I think you should inform the mods here of who/what this company's name is so they can be aware of such things.
    YourCheapHost.com - Low cost multi domain hosting solutions. [Legal adult content friendly]
    Reliable web site hosting is our motto. We have Alertra stats to back that up.
    Proven provider of high quality shared and reseller accounts since 2002.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Chattanooga TN
    Posts
    3
    I feature on our main web page, links to several customers sites, and invite prospects to contact them. It works.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Washington Metro Area
    Posts
    40
    Just so I am not misunderstood, I agree with you in the sense that fake testimonials are a shady (understatement) business practice. Also, I agree testimonials may not make all that much difference in terms of sales or adding credibility. Regardless, the practice of posting fake information can be considered at best a desperate attempt at adding credibility.
    I don't want to tell everybody the name of the company, since they post here sometimes and don't want to bring their name in the mud since I've never used them, but I simply find this apalling. I emailed the questioning about this, and am waiting to here what they have to say.
    I think you have shown much professionalism and good judgement by not posting the user's WHT UN or even the Website as turning this into a flame thread was not your intention. tanding ovation for thread starter:

    With that said, I do have a few questions.
    There is a testimonial on all of their pages that says they've been with this company for a year, but the company is only several months old and the website is even younger.
    How do you know the company is only several months old? Is it possible that the company recently changed names, but has been in business for several years? Is it possible that this person started hosting for this client before he registered his business, such as a business test run?
    Even worse, I did a whois on this domain, and the hosting company OWNS THE DOMAIN! So there is a completely fake testimonial, written by the company. Even worse, they have another testimonial which is a subdomain of the domain.
    I have heard of hosting companies retaining ownership (via whois data) of the domain when giving free domains away for the life of the hosting. Sort of like a domain lease. Is it possible this is the case for a possible "trial client base". Is it possible there was someone else who manages the subdomain? Maybe being that the hosting company has a very small client base, it used testimonials from two people from the same company?

    I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, but in regards the the principal of it all, I agree with you whole heartedly. But maybe this hosting company is not getting a fair shake?

    Well just food for thought and my $.02. It is great to see an ethic based thread though!

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1,128
    Just so I am not misunderstood, I agree with you in the sense that fake testimonials are a shady (understatement) business practice. Also, I agree testimonials may not make all that much difference in terms of sales or adding credibility. Regardless, the practice of posting fake information can be considered at best a desperate attempt at adding credibility.
    I think you have shown much professionalism and good judgement by not posting the user's WHT UN or even the Website as turning this into a flame thread was not your intention. tanding ovation for thread starter:
    Thanks.


    With that said, I do have a few questions.

    How do you know the company is only several months old? Is it possible that the company recently changed names, but has been in business for several years? Is it possible that this person started hosting for this client before he registered his business, such as a business test run?
    This is entirely possible, and is the reason that I emailed the company for follow-up. But one thing that makes me feel otherwise is that both the company's domain and the domain in the testimonial are both only several months old.
    I have heard of hosting companies retaining ownership (via whois data) of the domain when giving free domains away for the life of the hosting. Sort of like a domain lease. Is it possible this is the case for a possible "trial client base". Is it possible there was someone else who manages the subdomain? Maybe being that the hosting company has a very small client base, it used testimonials from two people from the same company?
    I think that if you saw the specific websites and examples, you would agree that it looks highly suspicous, for many reasons. I don't want to go into much detail, as I would rather keep this thread on fake testimonials in general, instead of evidence that this company's testimonials are fraudulent.

    I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, but in regards the the principal of it all, I agree with you whole heartedly. But maybe this hosting company is not getting a fair shake?

    Well just food for thought and my $.02. It is great to see an ethic based thread though!
    As you said, perhaps they're not getting a fair shake. For that reason and because I don't want this to become a flame thread, that's why I'm not going to reveal any names.
    Daily Updated Web Hosting News Blog
    Including an RSS feed that you can syndicate!
    Daily Updated Web Hosting News Blog
    Unlimited vs. Unmetered bandwidth

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    9,852
    Originally posted by hellind2
    I have nothing wrong against fake testiomonials.

    Customers should be smart to not trust it.

    I am for all bending the rules.

    Testimonials tell very little about the host.

    Fake testimonials tell all.

    Any host who puts fake testimonials on their site lacks integrity and lacks honesty. I can't imagine wanting to do business with a host or anyone else for that matter whos first contact with the customer is a lie.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Texas, where else?
    Posts
    1,571
    Because "testimonials" on a site can be so unreliable (easily faked), instead we just offer to provide references if asked.
    If anyone goes to the effort to ask then we can get an idea of what they need and point them to customers in similar situations and let them ask what they will and the customer respond directly. We always ask the customer if they would mind before putting them in touch but this way at least it's a real person talking (or emailing in most cases) a real customer and they can sort out whatever they want to know.
    It's amazing how seldom we are asked. Thus I don't think "testimonials" carry much weight either. Sometimes I wonder why, just like I wonder why people will ask some of the detailed stuff they go into about a particular plan or feature back & forth several times like they are very interested then just "drop off the screen" so to speak.

    It's kind of like all those emails I'm sure everybody gets starting with "I understand you provide free hosting to those who cannot afford it" or something similar...when we clearly don't provide free hosting at all...

    PS: And I agree, a fake testimonial is a lie, if somebody will lie about one thing they will lie about anything, uptime, network, support, guarantee, whatever...If I caught a fake "anything" I'd be looking elsewhere.
    New Idea Hosting NO Overselling-Business-Grade, Shared Only! New-In House Design Team.
    High Speed & Uptime; , DIY Pro-Site Builder-Daily Backups-Custom Plans, All Dual Xeon Quad Intel servers w/ ECC DDR3 RAM SCSI RAID minimums.
    We Concentrate on Shared Hosting ...doing one thing and doing it VERY well

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    379
    Originally posted by DDT


    PS: And I agree, a fake testimonial is a lie, if somebody will lie about one thing they will lie about anything, uptime, network, support, guarantee, whatever...If I caught a fake "anything" I'd be looking elsewhere.

    Yep, my though as well

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Northern Europe.
    Posts
    2,571
    Originally posted by cerebis
    I don't think fake testimonials are illegal, so long as it is understood that they are not real people, perhaps with only context being the necessary disclosure. I am not singling out hosting companies with my comments, after all it's a new industry and the practice of fake testimonials has been around since the advent of advertising.

    As community developed consumer resources go
    Fake testimonials may not be strictly illegal, but they certainly are VERY unethical. And "not real people"? I really don't see how there can be a real testimonial that is not made by a real person!

    Anyway, personally I don't look at the testimonials published by the host when evaluating the company. Of course, no one would publish any negative feedback.
    Web Hosting Reviews based on real customer feedback
    77 Ways To More Traffic

  26. #26
    Originally posted by Yash-JH
    I think original testiomonals made by real clients, published with their full name and their website can give you some bonus points from a potential customer. Potential customers love to see other customer sites, especially if they are similar to what he/she plans to host.
    That's an interesting thought actually. On the testimonials on our site, we have the full name near the testimonial, but putting the web site is a pretty good idea as well.

    It is sad that people don't think testimonials are very reliable, and also that hosts would actually fake testimonials. I know I'm always ecstatic when someone sends us positive feedback. I certainly wouldn't feel as good if the feedback was contrived.

  27. #27
    it's usually pretty easy to ping the fake ones. I wouldn't trust a hosting company that had fake testies, it just wouldn't sit right with me

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1,128
    Originally posted by blue27
    Testimonials tell very little about the host.

    Fake testimonials tell all.

    Any host who puts fake testimonials on their site lacks integrity and lacks honesty. I can't imagine wanting to do business with a host or anyone else for that matter whos first contact with the customer is a lie.
    You put it perfectly.

    I don't give much weight to real testimonials, but I give very much weight to fake testimonials, meaning that if a host has real testimonials, I don't give much attention, but if they have fake ones, I'll just turn away and look for somebody else.
    Daily Updated Web Hosting News Blog
    Including an RSS feed that you can syndicate!
    Daily Updated Web Hosting News Blog
    Unlimited vs. Unmetered bandwidth

  29. #29
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    67
    Keep in real or leave it off your website.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •