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Thread: Testimonials

  1. #1
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    Question Testimonials

    As a website designer and developer, I recently built a 'video testimonials' system for one of the best known and largest web host's in the UK (not naming any names). As online video has started to take off, and the fact that 'text testimonials' can be easily faked, I thought that a system like this would have been a huge success and given the business huge success to as the testimonials would have added weight if the person could be physically seen giving the testimonial.

    However, my thoughts were not to be. After six months the system hasn't really taken off after being promoted to existing customers in many different ways. I think that the system has been a failure because people may be somewhat 'scared' of showing there face on the internet like that; but what are your opinions on this? Especially web hosting customers, if your host set up a similar system today, would you be willing to give a testimonial, positive or negative? I look forward to hearing all your views and this should make an interesting thread.

    Note: I couldn't find anywhere else suitable to put this thread... so I just stuck it here...
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  2. #2
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    the fact that 'text testimonials' can be easily faked
    Surely video's can be faked too. Either by using current staff (if the company is big enough), family members, or even actors.

    The way I see it reviews and feedback on 3rd party websites are 10 times more useful. After all, a company is unlikely to stick anything negative up on their own site!

    In your example were users going to be paid for their time? If it was me I don't think it's something I would do for free for a host unless they were a huge part of our business.
    Steve

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen-Steve View Post
    Surely video's can be faked too. Either by using current staff (if the company is big enough), family members, or even actors.

    The way I see it reviews and feedback on 3rd party websites are 10 times more useful. After all, a company is unlikely to stick anything negative up on their own site!
    I don't see how they can be faked if the person recording the testimonial has to give their domain name. At least if something such as a domain name is given it allows people to do a dnsreport or something similar which can then trace the domain back to the host concerned.
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  4. #4
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    the best testimonial is WHT - if your client is satisfied, he will leave behind testimonial on WHT himself, only if he is registered, otherwise, if you provide good work, it will spread it self.
    Last edited by Zafar Ahmed; 12-26-2007 at 05:40 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluque View Post
    I don't see how they can be faked if the person recording the testimonial has to give their domain name. At least if something such as a domain name is given it allows people to do a dnsreport or something similar which can then trace the domain back to the host concerned.
    I could do a testimonial right now for one of my websites and state my name as Mr Smith owner of mrsmith.com - You've never met me or Mr Smith. How do you (and anyone else on the Internet) know I am in fact the website owner?
    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen-Steve View Post
    I could do a testimonial right now for one of my websites and state my name as Mr Smith owner of mrsmith.com - You've never met me or Mr Smith. How do you (and anyone else on the Internet) know I am in fact the website owner?
    But what if someone decided to something such as a dnsreport and found that you didn't own the domain and that the domain wasn't even hosted with that company?
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  7. #7
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    OK, lets say I do host mrsmith.com - You still don't know who I am!

    Obviously there is an issue with the real Mr Smith looking at my website and getting a bit annoyed (same with text based testimonials). But the way round that is to spend $10 and buy a domain, stick a fake website up and you are totally covered.
    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen-Steve View Post
    OK, lets say I do host mrsmith.com - You still don't know who I am!

    Obviously there is an issue with the real Mr Smith looking at my website and getting a bit annoyed (same with text based testimonials). But the way round that is to spend $10 and buy a domain, stick a fake website up and you are totally covered.
    Easily done, but easily found out. Anyone can do a whois search and see that you registered the domain yeterday - that's sure to get anyones eyebrowes twitching.

    And what kind of self respecting large corporation would even think about sticking fake video testimonials up? Sure, any kiddie host would do it, but not most adult run hosts.
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  9. #9
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    How about I plan ahead then, I'll register a domain today, another one next month and so on. Then by summer I have 6 fake testimonials ready to go!

    As for companies using fake testimonials... I can't think of any off the top of my head, but Sony for example went slightly further and created full on fake "fan" sites which were actually put together by their marketing department! They also used fake "fans" in a TV advertisement, again people who worked in the marketing department just used as stand ins. To you and I they look like normal people so how would we ever know? They also used fake review quotes on a poster (in effect a testimonial).

    I think it sounds like I'm being very harsh here, but I do like the idea of video reviews on websites, just not for this particular feature.
    Steve

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen-Steve View Post
    How about I plan ahead then, I'll register a domain today, another one next month and so on. Then by summer I have 6 fake testimonials ready to go!

    As for companies using fake testimonials... I can't think of any off the top of my head, but Sony for example went slightly further and created full on fake "fan" sites which were actually put together by their marketing department! They also used fake "fans" in a TV advertisement, again people who worked in the marketing department just used as stand ins. To you and I they look like normal people so how would we ever know?

    I think it sounds like I'm being very harsh here, but I do like the idea of video reviews on websites, just not for this particular feature.
    If they're in things such as adverts then they're going to be people from the marketing department, or actors - aren't they?

    So are you going to be wearing a different disguise for each testimonial?
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  11. #11
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    If they're in things such as adverts then they're going to be people from the marketing department, or actors - aren't they?
    The advert was meant to be two "fans" who had just walked out of the cinema and were giving their opinions on the film!

    So are you going to be wearing a different disguise for each testimonial?
    No, I have a staff of 20 to pick from, should be fine since you don't know what they look like either
    Steve

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen-Steve View Post
    The advert was meant to be two "fans" who had just walked out of the cinema and were giving their opinions on the film!



    No, I have a staff of 20 to pick from, should be fine since you don't know what they look like either
    In an advert? Well they're going to be actors then, aren't they!

    Are you going to hire 6 different venues for them to do their testimonials from then?
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    In an advert? Well they're going to be actors then, aren't they!
    A testimonial is in effect an advert, surely the same applies.

    EDIT: To add this link - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertain...lm/1399153.stm

    If it was standard to use actors why would this even be an issue.

    Are you going to hire 6 different venues for them to do their testimonials from then?
    No, between my house and the office we have plenty of rooms which look totally different
    Steve

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen-Steve View Post
    A testimonial is in effect an advert, surely the same applies.

    EDIT: To add this link - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertain...lm/1399153.stm

    If it was standard to use actors why would this even be an issue.



    No, between my house and the office we have plenty of rooms which look totally different
    There is a difference between an advert and a testimonial, although both a somewhat trying to 'sell a product' they do it in 2 different ways. An advert is always going to be positive. A testimonial doesn't always have to be positive - it can be negative, and the 2 scopes are very different: an end user is more likely to look up to a testimonial from a happy customer (or unhappy customer where the case may be) than some advert which is scripted beyond belief.

    Also, testimonials from your staff or 'forced' testimonials would be easy to detect.
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  15. #15
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    A testimonial doesn't always have to be positive - it can be negative, and the 2 scopes are very different: an end user is more likely to look up to a testimonial from a happy customer (or unhappy customer where the case may be) than some advert which is scripted beyond belief.
    This brings us back to your original point about people being scared to appear then. Let's say I hate my host, do I really want to invite them to my house (or visit their office) and then sit and tell them how crap they are?

    With a text testimonial at least you can rip it out of your host without the risk of getting punched in the face for annoying a staff member (extreme example I know ).

    Was your client really going to put videos on their site where the client is saying how awful the company is?
    Steve

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen-Steve View Post

    Was your client really going to put videos on their site where the client is saying how awful the company is?
    Thats if my client's customers are willing to go to that extreme. Anyways, I think if they linked to the system in more areas of the site then it would be more successful. But a system like that does bring a host right up to date as it is more or less their own mini YouTube.
    I write content. Particularly tech and hosting content.

  17. #17
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    I 100% agree linking in from other areas of the site would be great. I want to see behind the scenes of a company, I want to know it's not some kid in a bedroom. I want to see their offices, I want to see their staff members, I want to know who I am dealing with! I've always liked seeing tours of data centers on a host's website (both from a tech view and just getting to know the company).

    I still don't think the Marketing Director of a big host would allow a negative testimonial to go on the site, but you never know. Maybe they could expand on it a bit and have a before and after where they return a month later and do a follow up interview to say how everything has been fixed and now the client loves them!
    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen-Steve View Post
    I 100% agree linking in from other areas of the site would be great. I want to see behind the scenes of a company, I want to know it's not some kid in a bedroom. I want to see their offices, I want to see their staff members, I want to know who I am dealing with! I've always liked seeing tours of data centers on a host's website (both from a tech view and just getting to know the company).

    I still don't think the Marketing Director of a big host would allow a negative testimonial to go on the site, but you never know. Maybe they could expand on it a bit and have a before and after where they return a month later and do a follow up interview to say how everything has been fixed and now the client loves them!
    As a host though, would you stick something like this on your site?
    I write content. Particularly tech and hosting content.

  19. #19
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    I don't like testimonials to start with (as you say, easily faked so don't really mean that much.). I like the introduction of video to websites if it is meaningful.

    I think the way I would play it would be more of an interview, or a case study, of a start to finish looking at hosting and the site creation process. A 10 second clip of someone I don't know saying "xxx is great" doesn't really mean much more to me that the text version to be honest.

    However the big factor for me is the hassle involved. Hosting clients are generally fairly global, do you allow them to sit in front of their web cam and do a testimonial or do you need someone to visit and record it professionally?
    Steve

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen-Steve View Post
    I don't like testimonials to start with (as you say, easily faked so don't really mean that much.). I like the introduction of video to websites if it is meaningful.

    I think the way I would play it would be more of an interview, or a case study, of a start to finish looking at hosting and the site creation process. A 10 second clip of someone I don't know saying "xxx is great" doesn't really mean much more to me that the text version to be honest.

    However the big factor for me is the hassle involved. Hosting clients are generally fairly global, do you allow them to sit in front of their web cam and do a testimonial or do you need someone to visit and record it professionally?
    I make use of the VideoEgg API as I'm a partner of them. The system essentially asks a user to install the publisher into their system (ActiveX in IE) and people can then upload their testimonials from a variety of sources such as from their main system, from a DV camcorder, or they can record it there and then from their webcam into the publisher. The video is then encoded in to flv format and saved onto the VideoEgg network meaning that the host doesn't have to think about the high amount of storage which video can take up. The only player available to use is the VideoEgg player which is adorned in their colours but is highly stylish and can be customized in many ways such as allowing you to add a watermark (such as your logo) over all videos; the player itself is Flash so can be used on any flash enabled system.

    I might turn this idea into a separate hosted solution which hosts and companies alike can purchase and then add a 'widget' or something similar to their main site and then link back to their hosted video testimonials solution.
    I write content. Particularly tech and hosting content.

  21. #21
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    So Josh and Steve have a nice little discussion here?
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixen-Steve View Post
    In your example were users going to be paid for their time? If it was me I don't think it's something I would do for free for a host unless they were a huge part of our business.
    If they were getting paid for their time, I believe that the content would change significantly.

  23. #23
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    Sounds like a heck of a lot of work to put in a good word for my host, I can't even imagine 'throwing in' a free year of hosting would be that enticing.

    Maybe when webcams are a bit more common? Installed on each and every PC (or monitor) and it takes two seconds maybe but the process you described here would throw 90% of my customers into a total brain freeze for months trying to figure it out.

    If it were say for a review site on high end video cards (Say Radeon for example) then you have a very 'high tech' geek audience where they may not have an issue doing such a thing but many computer users just do not have the knowledge to pull off such a thing YET

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