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From: “Smith, Nick”
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2017 23:23:25 +0000

It depends on the circumstances, and unfortunately, testimonials can be a bit of a risk. I have written them myself, upon occasion, but it doesn’t mean that the information in the testimonial will give the recipient all the information they need, or be good for all circumstances, forever.

For instance, suppose I wrote a glowing testimonial of a traditional Irish band that rarely tours the U.S. Five years later, they make another tour, but they’ve changed three out of the five members, and are now writing most of their own music. Another venue sees my glowing review and gives them a try, but their audience doesn’t like the new sound. How helpful was my testimonial?

For the concert series, we have used testimonials, back in the days before YouTube videos were obtainable. Same thing for a teaching festival where I was hiring storytellers, once or twice based purely on audio recordings. Mostly, this worked.

On the other hand, one of the worst fiascos we ever had in the concert series was in hiring someone where we had no recent live footage or viewing, and she had a very good list of testimonials from people we trusted. The problem was that she had changed her act drastically, and her new performance was very different and just wasn’t as good. So, basically, the testimonials were obsolete, rather than deliberately misleading.

–Nick Smith

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