When you have a website, it is there for one major purpose (besides giving information), and that purpose is to convert a visitor into a sales lead. Many people out there create fake testimonials, and this can sometimes be obvious to potential clients who will then be put off contacting you due to the obvious insincerity you have shown in using fake testimonials.
The other problem with fake testimonials on your website is that Fair Trading is on the look out for such things and warns in their eNewsletter update on 30 January 2014 that they will be cracking down on such things:
Online deceptions involving bogus testimonials have resulted in significant consumer detriment, according to an inquiry by national and state-based consumer protection agencies.
The inquiry, conducted by Australian Consumer Law (ACL) regulators and led by NSW Fair Trading, has resulted in more than 40 businesses across Australia receiving substantiation notices over the past six months, with state and territory-based agencies demanding proof the glowing testimonials posted on businesses’ websites are genuine.
Minister for Fair Trading Stuart Ayres said NSW had issued 28 notices, resulting in 18 businesses substantiating their testimonials.
Three warning letters were issued, two businesses were referred for investigation by Fair Trading, one business amended its website and another requested an extension.
The response to the substantiation notice by one business is currently under review.
It is better to have 2-3 real quality contactable testimonials then 20 fake ones.
A testimonial helps a potential client who is visiting your website to feel more confident in contacting you as a result of knowing others have had good experiences in using you.
The more specific and excited your testimonials appear - the more they comfort a website visitor. It is always good to have a way of indentifying those who are happy with your products or services. For example you can link back to their company website (which is good for their Google ranking anyway) or even linking to the person's facebook profile!
Either way, testimonials are a very important part of your marketing strategy - online or offline.