It actually sounds obvious, but in the e-commerce industry it is unfortunately not uncommon: fake testimonials.

Faking testimonials is straight lying. It is the pretense of facts that do not exist.

Testimonials are a powerful text and design element to convince other potential customers or clients of one’s own offer. Even more so when among them appear some industry celebrities.

But what if you are just starting your business website and you have no testimonials and you feel the urge to have some/ Don’t do it anyway. Don’t blow your reputation right at the beginning. And the pretense of false facts could be, if not under your jurisdiction, then certainly with Allah a serious mistake. Every new customer you gain that way could count as haram income.

So How To Get Valid Testimonials?

If you have ever sold your product or service before, ask your customers whether they were satisfied with it. If they answer in a way that you would like to have as a testimonial on your website, also ask them for their permission to do so. Inform them about where and why you want to use their testimonial and whether they want to be mentioned by name or rather stay anonymous. Respect their answer and implement it exactly as agreed upon. And inform them, if you take their testimonial down for whatever reason. Because it’s about fairness and transparency after all.

So to sum up:

  • Ask for your customer’s opinion after a purchase or wait until you get it
  • Ask for permission to use their testimony on your website
  • Ask them, whether they want their name to be mentioned (and maybe a link to their website or social media account) or they rather stay anonymous
  • Tell them where exactly it will be put
  • Show them after you put their testimony on your website and give them the opportunity to eventually change it
  • And if you take the testimony down some day, also inform them about it

Product Ratings and Reviews

Product ratings and reviews are similar in this respect, except there are some automation integrated already. People giving ratings and writing reviews already know, that it will appear on the website, under that product and with the (real or nick) name they used to sign up. They also should have control over their reviews and be able to change them, write a new one or take them down. So make sure your CMS or whatever system you use provides these possibilities.

In Germany, which has one of the strongest consumer rights in the world, there is a legal framework regarding customer reviews. It’s called the Omnibus directive. Among other things, this obliges online retailers to explain whether they check customer reviews for authenticity and, if so, how they do so. If they do so, their reviews are marked as verified purchase.

For the popular CMS WordPress there is a plugin called Germanized, where these settings can be made finely granular.

Screenshot of the Germanized plugin settings regarding product reviews authenticity

This Article is part of the Ethical Website Creation series.

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Ethical Website Creation

Ethical Website Creation is a way to create websites that take into account all the rights of the user and actively protects them, through the choice of technology or method of implementation.

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Targeted at Muslim Web Developers and Muslim Business Site owners!

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