Mike T

New Member
It looks like there are quite a few people running successful businesses using the Ali Dropship plugin. The plugin itself and the idea that it is based on are great. You are sourcing products and selling them at a slightly higher price.

However, the review part of the plugin is risky if you sell to customers located in the US. Take a look at the FTC guidelines:

What it means is that, when you are importing reviews from Ali Express, if you are modifying, translating or showing only a few positive reviews, you might get in trouble with the FTC. I am guessing that, for now, a lot of websites are flying under the radar because they are not big enough and haven't attracted attention yet. I certainly do not want to put a lot of time and money into developing an ecommerce store to have it shut down or fined by FTC when it finally starts making some money.

My concern is certainly not baseless. Take a look at these two articles (there are a lot more than two):

I am not sure how long it takes an AliDropship store to make $250,000 and I'd rather stay away from paying FTC fines.

Like I said before, it is a great plugin, but it needs some extra work in the compliance department. Crackdowns are a certainty in the future and are what will differentiate successful, long-lasting businesses from the ones that get fined and drop from search results.

I can think of several solutions, maybe you can add your own thoughts:
  • skip using the reviews feature of AliDropship
  • import ALL the AliExpress reviews for a product, although I am not sure if you are liable if, among those, there are fake reviews posted by someone else
  • AliDropship gets legal advice from someone knowledgeable about EU, US and other jurisdictions Internet Law and teaches us how to post disclaimers, import reviews, etc. This one is something that will work good long-term if AliDropship manages to do it in a cost-effective way (we have to think about them, too, of course)
  • AliDropship creates or adds a module or third-party plugin/solution that helps you generate your own, real reviews. Probably the best long-term solution, if it can be done in a cost-effective way. It's going to hurt a bit if a product becomes unavailable and you lose the reviews, but maybe you can also get some more generic reviews for your brand, product category, subcategory, etc
Why should you care about what I wrote so far?

Because your competition might smarten up and report you to the FTC , the EU and various advertising platforms that you are currently using, such as Adwords, Bing Ads, Twitter & Facebook Ads, etc.

Please let me know what you think. Thanks.
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Real Residual

Active Member
Most of the testimonials on Aliexpress are just:

"Excellent, I love it"

Usually, we don't see such outrageous claims like "I lost weight using this bracelet" or "My cancer was healed because of this healing stone".
But if you let those testimonials appear on your product page, then it's your negligence. By all means, remove them!

As long as your testimonials are highly achievable, typical, and you have made a reasonable effort to ensure product quality is good (such as searching for a good vendor, research your product, and even buy one unit ahead yourself), you are not likely to be fined by the FTC. Remember, they have to prove their case too when it comes to taking actions against you. Although, if you are unlucky and they just want to make an example out of you, that's what LLC and Corporations are for. Just do your due diligence when it comes to selecting products, importing testimonials, etc... Don't just put anything on your site because you can do it with a button click. And never do anything fishy knowingly to make a quick buck, because you'll end up paying for it someday down the road.

Also instead of importing all testimonials to appear impartial, you can just add a disclaimer stating that not all product reviews are posted, only selected ones are shown, which pretty much covers you for that particular point.


Mike T

New Member
Hi RR,

Thanks for taking the time to answer to my thread.

Here's what the FTC says about using partial reviews in advertising (there's more in their guide about this topic):

Testimonials claiming specific results usually will be interpreted to mean that the endorser’s experience reflects what others can also expect. Statements like “Results not typical” or “Individual results may vary” won’t change that interpretation. That leaves advertisers with two choices:

1. Have adequate proof to back up the claim that the results shown in the ad are typical, or

2. Clearly and conspicuously disclose the generally expected performance in the circumstances shown in the ad.

From what they say, you will probably get a warning first. Reviews imported using AliDropship "x stars and up" drop-down are not typical. I am not sure about importing ALL the US reviews, for example and mentioning that reviews from other countries were excluded. That is why I started this thread, to get answers to help me stay away from trouble and not to criticize AliDropship, which is a great plugin. I am trying to lay a solid foundation for my Ecommerce store(s) that will last for years to come and that is not at the mercy of a simple report to the FTC from my competition. For that reason, I still think that a review generation system that integrates well with AliDropship would be great and would improve the 'reviews' function of the plugin. There are a few on CodeCanyon, but they seem to have poor support from their authors (plugin support is the most important aspect to me when I decide what to buy and what not and also the reason why I chose AliDropship). There are other solutions but they are a little bit costly.

Selecting only US reviews comes with its own issues. There are US reviews on AliExpress that somehow ended up including a few Russian words. Other reviews have the broken English of a careless Google translation. I understand that I do have to put in some work to select products with great legitimate reviews. However, an article about this would be a great idea, AliDropship support ;) wink wink and would bring in a quite a few new visitors that are looking for the same answers as I am.

There are other considerations when it comes to reviews - such as if you are using them in your paid advertising (of course you are if you have them on your landing page or even worse, in your ad body.

And never do anything fishy knowingly to make a quick buck, because you'll end up paying for it someday down the road. Some of the best advice I ever got.
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Real Residual

Active Member

I think you are really overthinking this. Fitness, Health, Make Money Opportunities are the ones FTC focuses on. Not saying you can get away with anything else, but as long as your reviews are not outright lying, there really aren't much to worry about.

For example, what could go wrong with someone saying "I love this bracelet, it fits really well, and it shines" or "Thank you for this wonderful dog-face backpack, my daughter loves it"? These are typical testimonials from Aliexpress and they are highly subjective. I seriously doubt FTC could use them as reasons to go after you.

Now, the other side of the coin is when you import a product and you knowingly have seen tons of negative review, such as "not genuine, fake, knockoff", but you purposely omit those, and replace with "Authentic", "Factory Tag" and things like that, then you are in trouble. You don't need FTC to tell you that.

So yes, you can go with a lot of hypotheticals about getting fined one day by the FTC, or you can do your due diligence and choose your products wisely. As someone who has dealt with the FTC at one time in my life, I can tell you this, US District Attorneys handling the case are not interested in "justice", they just want a win for their record and perhaps some compensation for victims if there are victims involved. If you have not swindled millions of dollars from customers, you are by default too small, and to be honest, they have bigger fishes to fry, much like the two examples you posted.

I sold an info product and offered a 60 days money back guarantee. I did everything right, with disclaimers and such, making no claims that were unreasonable. Some people who bought the product didn't like it so they asked for their money back. 2 of my employees got together and copied my idea and went off to do their own while making a ruckus with FTC about my info product. At the end of the day, I showed the FTC my refund list and bank statement to back it up, proving that I did honor the 60 days guarantee. So the case never went official, it was just an inquiry by the FTC.

But you know what? That "just an inquiry" cost me $25K in attorney fee, 6 months of voluntary business suspension, and eventually closing that business to start another. So if they want to screw with you, the good people at FTC, you are screwed, with testimonials or not.



I wish I have your worry. I wonder more about how to get my store to earn that $250,000 than what the FTC is gonna do to me. :D

Mike T

New Member
You are right RR, I do tend to overthink things. Sometimes it helped, other times it prevented me from doing what needed to be done. But, I have also learnt that a good business plan includes a lot of research and this is me doing that research. Anyway, your advice is great and it did put away some of my worries, thanks for the tips, I will definitely act on them.

Breaking a law that is not enforced is not the same with not breaking the law. And imagine the following scenario - Store A that uses AliDropship comes into direct competition with Store B that imports products or sources them locally and has worked 7 years to get reviews and a decent store with decent prices. What will prevent Store B from sending an email to the FTC that compares the reviews from Store A with those found on AliExpress? Game over for Store A, no matter if it is in its infancy or if it got a chance to make the $250,000 (?JohnSmith?).

What I am trying to do is to find a legal way to display those reviews that will not give my competition leverage over me. I did quite a bit of paid advertising and I found out that your competition will not hesitate to report you for the slightest perceived mistake, if only to put your account on hold for a bit and give you trouble. I will do my own research, of course, but I would like to see AliDropship's take on this topic, if possible. A disclaimer field in the Reviews tab might be a good idea? Such as "only US reviews are shown". I wonder if taking out the obviously fake reviews is acceptable and not considered altering the overall perceived product rating (you can probably do it, if you document the whole process).