Eliminating testimonials is a good start


#1

Today Fiverr started with removing all testimonial gigs. I have stopped offering testimonials for the past year and I consider this move by Fiverr to be a good thing.

I never wanted to perform testimonials in the first place, but it was the only way to enter the marketplace, and I accepted this as the morphing of my industry into a new paradigm. …Until the FTC issued their warning that they will be criminally prosecuting ALL parties who continue their involvement in the violation of the Truth-in-Advertising Act…yep, that would mean me! So, last year I changed my gig to better comply with the FTC guidelines. However, Fiverr can’t police the site to be certain Buyers and Sellers abide like I have, so they’ve eliminated the category altogether.

Now, testimonials are not the only illegal activity I find on Fiverr. Indeed, there are gigs that require licensing, or blatantly exploit consumers, and so on. I suspect these categories will be the next to go.


Fiverr Support Is Taking Too Long To Respond
#2

Been that way for a number of years in the EU.


#3

Fiverr added that warning right after a major Canadian news network did an investigative report specifically about fiverr sellers creating testimonials. Look up “fake video testimonials: inside the world of fake reviews (CBC Marketplace)” on Youtube.


#4

I watched the video.

Confronting the actress with cameras and a microphone as if she had been charged with a crime, or under criminal investigation, was itself unethical journalism in my opinion.


#5

I agree with you about it being a move in the right direction, however slighty OT, I sort of find it funny that while the gov is concerned with truth in advertising, as I watch on TV that Crest white strips whighten 12x better than the leading brand, apparently there is a new $12 wrinkle cream that is more effective than the $400 brand and most amazingly, if I switch my car insurance twice, it should be free. That’s before we even get to political advertsing. :grinning:

Here’s the link to the CBC report on it.


#6

FTC compliance is all about the small print you barely noticed in the commercials you cited.

btw - While I no longer offered testimonials, I continued to receive orders for them. I simply required the Buyer to purchase my extra, which was a FTC compliant disclosure.

The FTC compliance guidelines required that the video contain small text that flashed near the beginning of the video for at least 3 seconds and the text be readable. Of course, Buyers could blur out the text overlay after delivery, but at least I had proof that I was in compliance. It would be impossible for Fiverr to watch every video that’s delivered to insure a proper disclosure was added, so removing the category was a smart move.


#7

Do you care to share what kind of gigs you are alluding to?


#8

If you really think about the whole concept of testimonials, how likely is it to have a previous customer come back and agree to be on a video talking about how great your service was;
and not just talking about it but in such a way that it sounds like a scripted commercial?

Television ads are full of these things. I always have to ask myself how did it come about that someone is on tv doing this if it is truthful?

I’m thinking now of a current commercial where the man is saying he is a casino dealer and he was eating candy and his two front teeth snapped off. (Right away you are drawn into what he is saying.) So off he went to this local implant dental surgeon and got a beautiful new set of teeth and now not a day goes by where he doesn’t get at least ten or fifteen compliments where people say “those teeth! they’re beautiful!”

How is anyone going to believe this is a real customer?

I cannot see any type of legal disclaimer on the screen either on this commercial.

I don’t know why fiverr would be targeted by the U.S. government for a crackdown on this when you have these constantly on television.


#9

I think the main issue here is that the actress is changing her roles in testimonials. It is not at all ethical to say “I’m a certified professional” in a testimonial. It is not acceptable at all. If she acted as a customer, that would have been fine.


#10

What about all the old people who love to tell you about how they cashed out the equity in their home to fund their new never ending amazing life in Florida?

Or office workers who keep slip tripping and falling all over the place?

I slightly disagree with how the Truth-in-Advertising Act is being interpreted here. Influencer led marketing is the biggest kid on the block right now. Whole foods sells fancy oats, they get in touch with some upcoming health food bloggers and those bloggers and Youtubers start jumping about hysterically saying how great oats are.

You will never get rid of paid testimonials as long as people disclose that a testimonial is sponsored by a company. This whole Fiverr is bending the knee to the US advertising authority is really a case of: Whoops one of our sellers just got thrown in jail and we need to distance ourselves from this publically.

As for whether paid testimonials work, the sad thing is they do. No, not the really fake, “I took this pill and I grew a unicorn” videos done in peoples bedrooms. Instead, you need to look at the better done ones like some of the ones you get for male pattern baldness products. No one believes a person coming out of the blue saying “eat gummy bears!” If, however, people are already looking for a solution to a problem such as baldness, they will be sucked in by testimonials because they want to believe and need reaffirmation.


#11

It might be because they don’t want bad publicity if someone writes a story about it.
“Fiverr sells fake testimonials” wouldn’t be a good kind of publicity.


#12

Everything boils down to the fact that all this phony gigs, run by phony people give Fiverr a bad name and the consequences are for all Fiverr sellers to bear.
Myself I find it already hard to trust a new buyer, let alone a seller. Especially after observing the forum for a while.


#13

LOL! I agree! I can’t tell you how many Buyers wanted my testimonials to sound “natural”. Seriously? Did they really think the public would believe their customer would film themselves in studio lighting and with a lapel microphone, in their home no less, while singing their praises???

Now, you asked how they can be doing this on TV without a disclosure…

Yes, some slip through the cracks because the FTC is a government entity with limited resources. The FTC website makes it very convenient for the public to report misleading advertisements and unless the accused can prove the legitimacy of their advertising claim, they’re at risk of prosecution. Unless they’ve been reported, they will most likely not be investigated.


#14

understood after watching video


#15

Actually, Fiverr was at risk of criminal prosecution by the FTC because they profit from the production of these false advertisements.

And because they profit, they’re at risk of civil suits too.

Let’s take for example the Fiverr gig that offers a fake doctor testimonial for a nutritional supplement. It’s illegal in the states to portray a doctor for any reason. Now, someone has a seizure that left them paralyzed from the supplement. Their attorney is going to go after Fiverr for damages because that’s where the money is.

Fiverr needs to eliminate risks as best they can if they want to lure investors or attract a buyer. Micha is a very, very smart businessman, his business plan is brilliant. He knows just how far he can push the envelope!


#16

Unless you’ve seen that business plan, you might want to be careful. That does, after all, sound just a little bit like a fake testimonial. :slight_smile:


#17

I know there are a few companies in Las Vegas that do nothing but fake testimonial videos.
Starting prices at $150,000. Aren’t they being prosecuted?

They have a list of actors to choose from. Requirements for actors are that they look and sound like ordinary people of all ages, just slightly above average in attractiveness.


#18

You know, I actually feel really sorry for the seller in the above video. People need to remember that politicians don’t get harrassed like this when they are exposed as having thousands of fake social media followers.

Oh what a better world we could have if people just did things properly. People review products they actually buy, farmers farm, and investigative journalists actually report on things which it takes more than a half hour web search to investigate.


#19

They push the envelope long enough to generate enough profits to offset the cost of prosecution. Now, that’s what I call a brilliant business plan.


#20

The government agencies in the U.S. are mostly for sale now. If they are prosecuting any company it’s because they don’t pay off the right people. I’m not being cynical, that’s the fact of the situation.

I’ve seen the same actress in two fake testimonial advertisements showing at the same time on TV. In one it’s for match dot com and she pretends to be in a new relationship with the guy sitting next to her. At no time is there any small print saying they are actors.

If a company puts the right (connected) lawyer on it’s payroll they don’t have to worry about fake testimonials.