Use of fake testimonials, misleading content, consumer fraud.

Use of fake testimonials, misleading content, consumer fraud. Upon looking through the websites in my local town I discovered what I thought at the time to be some very nice web sites owned by a Karate school opening up in town. As a marketer, what really caught my eye was the use of testimonials all over the page, and an online lesson purchase option. Were they real it would have been a perfect application of ‘social proof advertising’ (testimonials) with a ‘call for action’ (place to pay) I’ve seen. Luckily for me I did some looking around and discovered that these testimonials were fake, recycled by an advertising company, and used for at least 19 Different New Jersey Based Karate schools, and over 130 nationwide. In the advertising industry we call this practice “Astro-turfing”, the practice of using false testimonials to create a grass roots campaign. I am disgusted that these businesses and the advertising firm would do this to unsuspecting families/ consumers. Many of these businesses charge $200 a month and will sign up customers (many of them children) on 2- 4 year contracts ($4800+). Consumers are making SERIOUS financial decisions based on lies placed online by these companies to separate the consumer from their money. Below you will find links the websites, and an incomplete list of New Jersey based businesses engaging in this practice. National List/ Ad Company’s web site: Atlantic: Bergen: Burlington: Camden: Essex:
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1 comment

Looks like a template that has been duplicated many times over. Why would any business owner want to do this???

not sure.. Maybe it's the same owner for all of them. They are probably real testimonials for 1 location, obviously just not for all of those locations.

Its almost like paying someone for a testimonial on the street.

It is very mis leading and think this is why the internet has become so un reliable for info. Money talks in the end & these businesses are probably making a lot off of false advertising :upset

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