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Authenticate Testimonial
   
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Add Authenticable Testimonials to Your Website - Introduction

There are billions of websites on the Internet, all competing for attention. How do you make your website stand out from the crowd?

Recommendations are an ideal tool which can help any website to become more prominent in the eyes of its visitors. People instinctively place trust in someone if they receive a good recommendation from someone else that they already trust. But how do you trust a recommendation or testimonial that is simply left on a website?! It could have been written just for the purpose to deceive or mislead visitors! In fact due to a lack of accountability, many unscrupulous website owners misuse the freedom of the web by posting testimonials for their services and products which are not quite genuine. Because of this, many people are cynical about testimonials, making it difficult for genuine ones to stand out from the fakes. Thus, an excellent tool that could help decent and legitimate businesses has become hijacked. The more interesting phenomenon is that the better the testimonials posted on a website, the more anxious and untruthful it may seem to the visitor.

The Solution

The solution for the above problem must be well structured and free to avoid bias and manipulations, and an all-win scheme. This website presents such a solution. In the solution all parties involved in the testimonial process only have to tend to their own responsibilities within it, and can be safe in the knowledge that the process is fair. The website owner retains the control over their website and the testimonials published on it (in difference to other schemes). The website visitor can be 100% sure that the testimonials are genuine as he/she is able to authenticate them. The testimonial-giver receives a credit for his effort to make the testimonial, which is expressed in a higher rank of their website in search engines, and visitors coming from the testified website. The solution is described in details in the Authentication Protocol for Website Testimonials section. Other testimonials schemes which in general we do not recommend are noted below.

Paid Services

There are several online services attempting to address the testimonials problem by collecting buyers’ opinions on the behalf of the website. One such solution is http://www.ekomi.co.uk, among others. Such services are possible solutions which may be very good for some type of online businesses, but they also have inherent problems associated with them, one of which is the cost. Some of these services are quite expensive, starting from £99 GBP per month for less than 3000 reviews and the price often rises progressively. On the positive side, this type of solution provides feedback, and what is particularly good from the website visitor’s point of view is that both positive and negative reviews are accepted and published. Another positive feature is the larger number of reviews that they should facilitate (provided that is a large number of purchases).

However, as mentioned, this type of solutions has a number of drawbacks. The fundamental problem with them is that their model is centralized and artificial. Therefore it is necessarily inconsistent and also expensive (as we saw), inflexible, not necessarily truthful, representative or impartial. For example, both, website owners and visitors have to trust the central "authority". In this situation, the middleman "authority" has a lot of power, which is never a good thing. From the website owner's point of view, control over their own website at this level is lost for as long as they are using the service. To see the fundamental inconsistency of these types of solutions, we will look at a fictional case. Suppose that there is a large company holding the market of some gadget; a small new company emerges on the same market with a superior product and subscribes to one of these services. The large company is not interested in competition or wasting much money to change their production, so they decide to buy this type of gadgets made by the small company from shops around the world where they is sold, thus making the sales to look as though from genuine customers. Thus say the large company purchases 50,000 items from the small company, but they leave a negative review with each order, then they stop buying – no-one would now buy from the new company since they would see 50,000 negative reviews on their testimonial page. This is in fact the same principle in which monopolies use to squeeze competitors out of the market. Although this is only a hypothetical scenario, it demonstrates the inherent flaws in a centralized and unnatural system provided by these types of services. It also worth mentioning that there are also a number of other problems and expenses associated with these systems, including extra technical and art work of the website subscribing to these services.

Free Services

There are other solutions, such as websites designed for leaving reviews, and websites such as http://download.cnet.com where members can leave reviews. However, as with the above example, neither of these solutions have proper structural models. Therefore, depending on the circumstances, reviews can range from informative to damaging and outright untruthful. It suffices to say that typically the business model of these websites is based on gaining revenue from advertisements. The looseness of the comments and reviews added to these services makes them unreliable and untrustworthy sources of information. Further, psychologically, without an incentive most people would make the effort to make a review only when they are very dissatisfied and wish to complain, or are "blown away" but rarely when they simply receive something that does what it says on the tin. In conclusion, it is possible that a company could employ a person to simply create accounts on these websites and place positive reviews for them and negative ones for the competition. This could be multiplied if they pay a few dollars to a group of students looking to gain some easy money, and not to mention what a robot equipped with a decent spinner could do in just one hour. Some of these services simply accept payments to write and publish reviews according to the requirements of the client. Currently a freelance writer charges on average about $10 for a 500 words review.

Website Seals

Website seals of course should not give any credibility to a website, but for completeness we will briefly discuss them. Many people mistakenly believe that a website seal is a symbol for the trustworthiness of a website. Of course this is not true at all. Provided that a website SSL seal is valid, it only means that the website can utilize secure-layer protocols and transfer information encrypted to capable agents, for example the customer credit card details are secure while transferring them. It does not mean that the company will actually fulfill their promise for the goods or service for which the visitor is paying. An SSL seal can be bought for as little as 4.99 USD.
Next: Authentication Protocol for Website Testimonials
 
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What are public authentication and encryption keys?
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Public Authentication Key
Click this link to download our Public Authentication Key. Public Authentication Key is used by the recipients of digitally signed documents, e.g. sent by email or otherwise, to confirm the authenticity and integrity of the documents. Use our Public Authentication Key and Act On File or other capable software to authenticate any digitally signed emails and documents that we may have sent you. Our public authentication key is also used to authenticate the authenticable testimonials which we have given to our suppliers, customers and other partners. The testimonials are usually posted on the testimonial recipients' website(s). Learn more here.
Public Encryption Key
Click this link to download our Public Encryption Key. Public Encryption Key is used to encrypt information, in a way that only the holder of the complement to it Private Key can decrypt it. Use our Public Encryption Key and Act On File or other capable software to send us any private information that you may want us to have. Learn more here.