Are Testimonials a Good or Bad thing on a Website?

A few months back I came across a new non thatching website.  I know the owner of the business very well and she had been running her business for just 4 weeks.

In her testimonials she used her boyfriend and daughter to say something.  Whether the wording was done by her or her relatives is irrelevant.  This got me thinking: “Should family and friends be allowed to post testimonials?”

I am not a great fan of testimonials as the system is open to abuse and people can put made up posts on their sites. We do not post testimonials on the site although we can send out a sheet of what people have written about us. Since the start of 2010 we have 24 such comments.

The three things that we can say about our testimonials are that they ARE NOT family or friends, they are unsolicited (i.e. we never ask for them) and most importantly we can, on request, give out the owners details so that others can speak to our previous clients.