Personalising testimonials with pictures

9:30 am Website Accuracy, Website Development

Aegon are a big company. 28,000 employees serving 40 million customers big.  With that many employees you’d think it would be hard to get something wrong on the website.

The screenshot below is taken from the page http://www.aegonse.co.uk/adviser/protection/individual-protection/understanding-claims/case-studies/case2/index.html, which is a case study supposed to get across the message that a customer found it easy to make a claim when their wife died.   The implication is that the man in the photo is the same man who wrote the comment (after all, why would you show a picture of someone else next to something that’s so personal?) …

It’s perfectly feasible that the picture is of the man concerned but if you look at the properties of the picture it’s named as ‘man_portrait.jpg’.  Not Bill Smith, Jack Johnson or anything like that – purely ‘man_portrait.jpg’ – almost as if it was stock photography and not the real person.

It’s feasible that Aegon fully intended to put a male picture there, just to add something to the comment but surely that’d be ‘wrong’ when the testimonial is about something so personal.

There’s a great tool called TinEye (http://www.tineye.com) which lets you input the url of an image, or the page that it’s on and it’ll go off and see if that image pops up anywhere else.  And sure enough, here’s what it came up with:

… which includes a link to Getty Images and the page http://www.inmagine.com/dv1043/dv1043014-photo, which is a royalty-free site.  It’s certainly not a cheap image to buy and perhaps that’s why Aegon used it (so that it wasn’t so obviously a stock image as it wouldn’t show up in many places) but surely they’d realise that some (pedantic) person would find it?

There’s another case study on that site at the page http://www.aegonse.co.uk/adviser/protection/individual-protection/understanding-claims/case-studies/case1/index.html.  This time, a woman looking surprisingly upbeat considering supposedly being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis …

That image, called ‘woman_portrait.jpg’ also appears elsewhere as TinEye unveils below …

There are a couple of points worth making here …

  1. If you’re going to use testimonials and link pictures to them then tread carefully.  I only looked up those pictures because they didn’t seem ‘right’ linked to the comments on those Aegon pages.   This makes me automatically think that not just the images have been fabricated but that the testimonial comments may not be genuine either.
  2. If you’re considering using images on a website then it’s maybe worth using a site such as TinEye to see where else they appear.  There’s an image that I refer to only as ‘reception girl’ because she seems to pop up everywhere on websites, which confirms that those websites may not actually have such people ready to take calls (which we sort of know anyway!).   You can while away hours putting images into TinEye just to see where else they appear but to make life easier, they have a page of goodies (http://www.tineye.com/goodies) that lets you plug it in to your browsers.

3 Responses

  1. Colman Carpenter Says:

    Andy,

    Am I surprised? Sadly not. One wonders if the real people behind the (presumably real) testimonials were deemed not photogenic enough to appear on the website? I think it would be better not to have pictures at all than do this.

    Tineye is a very cool service, though. Had no idea it existed!

  2. Tweets that mention Custwin Blog » Blog Archive » Personalising testimonials with pictures -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Roberts and Andy Harris, Andy Harris. Andy Harris said: Personalising testimonials with pictures: Aegon are a big company. 28,000 employees serving 40 million customers… http://bit.ly/dXyN6c [...]

  3. Jamie Green Says:

    Very interesting Andy,

    I have just copied the URL of a few images on our site into TinEye and can see a number of sites and blogs using the images which we own.

    I see the lady pointing at the line graph at the top of this page also has a number of results.

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