Whom Do You Trust?

A couple of years ago, I was asked to to a presentation to an international e-commerce symposium at the Sobey School of Business on the importance of analysts’ opinions when selecting online vendors.  Then, yesterday, I was doing a little research about Direct Buy for my post on asking customers to pay to be customers.  There’s a connection.

During the preparation for my Sobey talk, I got sidetracked from the main topic of, “Can you trust Analysts to be fair and impartial” (answer: not any more), and ended up exploring just who could  be trusted in the world of online commerce.  On ebay, the vendors are rated by past customers, but that could be easily rigged.  There are social recommendation tools like Digg, Reddit and many others that rate content, but those also are often rigged by clever hackers.  By the end of the presentation, I had swung around to Bloggers (in aggregate) as the most reliable source of influence-free information.  Sure some bloggers have been bought, and blogs that rely on advertising revenue have certain agendas, and some companies have even created “fake” blogs that they pretend not to be involved with; but the vast majority of us 120,000,000 bloggers aren’t trying to do anything other than voice our opinions.

When I went to do research about Direct Buy, the first term I googled was Direct Buy Complaints.  That search took me to this http://www.infomercialscams.com/scams/direct_buy_scams, which oddly enough has 23 people mostly rabidly happy with their experience.  Some people caution that you should really think it through, and one complains of a rude person, but the overall tone is very positive.  I think it may be a case of Direct Buy creating their own “complaints,” but I can’t know for sure.

Then I googled “direct buy” “consumer reports”  and was not directed to the magazine (as I was expecting), but rather to a blog called The Consumerist.  She did, in turn, link to the magazine, but it was her context that exactly adressed my curiosity, and the fact that it was a person, as opposed to some quasi-official complaint log that didn’t seem to log any complaints.

So, I’ll conclude the same way I did my presentation in Halifax: take the expertise of an analyst, and the trust of a friend, combine them, and you get the blogging community.

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5 Responses to “Whom Do You Trust?”

  1. Josh Says:

    Some relevant posts from consumerreports.org:

    http://blogs.consumerreports.org/home/2007/09/with-directbu-1.html

    Posted by: Nancy | Sep 8, 2008 6:06:17 PM

    DirectBuy Sued! A federal lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court in Hartford against the national high-end DirectBuy franchise operation, accusing it of falsely telling prospective clients that they are getting furniture, appliances and other household products at manufacturer prices. In a lawsuit filed by attorney Seth R. Klein of Hartford, DirectBuy is accused of hiding the fact that DirectBuy receives rebates from manufacturers which are not directly passed on to their members, who pay as much as $7,000 to join for two or three years. The lawsuit, which seeks to be certified as a class action representing thousands of present and former members of the more than 100 franchises, was filed earlier this month. It follows a column on DirectBuy that disclosed the rebates, which are kept secret from its members and from those it entices to join through high pressure sales techniques. DirectBuy officials had no comment on the suit but had said earlier that it uses the millions of dollars it received in rebates to the benefit of its members. We will see what a jury has to say about that.

    ———————————————————
    Posted by: MIKEY | Oct 27, 2008 11:50:47 AM

    DIRECT BUY IS A SCAM – BUYS OUT INFOMERCIALSCAMS.COM TO COVER ITS TRACKS !

    Write your Review »
    infomercialscams.com was strong-armed by direct buy and had to remove nearly 1,000 complaints about the direct buy scam. Why you ask. Cause when you google “direct buy” the informercial scam site was ranked #2 by google. All that is left on the site is the fake reviews by direct buy. I would say to be very careful with dealing with a company that is afraid of what it customers post about it on the internet. This company is a scam. Go there, read the contract, its all in the contract. The contract basically states that direct buy is bound to nothing and you are bound to paying the $5,000 member fee. SCAM SCAM SCAM SCAM SCAM

    nothing ever goes away from the net.

    just check archives

    http://web.archive.org/web/20080203104709/www.infomercialscams.com/scams/direct_buy_scams

    lets keep it in their (directbuy) face

    ———————————————————
    Posted by: Cheryl | Oct 29, 2008 3:15:01 PM

    My husband and I are so sorry we ever joined Directbuy and literally wound up throwing away $4,500. We joined just before we purchased our home and wound up having hardly any money to renovate after we purchsed it. We did all the labor ourselves, but either weren’t able to afford the building materials at Directbuy, couldn’t pay for them up front or couldn’t wait 6-8 weeks to get them. Also, the few times we went there, we had trouble getting service or they told us we had to come back on a paticular day and time ex: when the window person who could help us was there. Now, our three years are up and we couldn’t even afford the $203.30 to renew our membership another year and try to re-coup back some of the money we lost. We sent certified letters to Directbuy at the location we signed up at and the president at their main headquarters hoping for some response to our situation, but they didn’t even have the courtesy to reply.

    ———————————————————
    Posted by: John A | Nov 1, 2008 12:54:18 PM

    MIKEY (above) is right. DirectBuy apparently has had considerable success in silencing its critics through legal strong-arming.

    But their shady tactics go even further than that.

    Consumer Reports may be interested to learn of a lesser known page called Consumer Reviews.org, which features a glowing review of DirectBuy — average of 5-stars over 250+ reviews!

    http://www.consumerreviews.org/direct-buy

    People searching for DirectBuy on the net will encounter Google ads directing them to the above page for the “truth” about DirectBuy.

    Okay, now attempt to visit the homepage of Consumer Reviews by removing the tail-end of the URL:

    http://www.consumerreviews.org/

    Very bare-bones, huh? “Copyright 2008,” hm. Hey, wait, the search engine doesn’t work… That’s right, Consumer Reviews does not cover any other business entity in its “reviewing.”

    Obviously rankled by Consumer Reports’ responsible reporting, DirectBuy has created a sham website to confuse consumers and prop themselves up. Just one more shady business practice that says “stay away.”

    It would seem that Directbuy is trying to manipulate people through false positive “reviews.”

  2. netdud Says:

    “…take the expertise of an analyst, and the trust of a friend, combine them, and you get the blogging community.”

    I refute you in the name of Elmo!

  3. Alison Moore Smith Says:

    netdud is right. John A. is right. The website he references is a shill for the Direct Buy scam.

    Look at the <a href=”http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&as_q=&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&num=10&lr=&as_filetype=&ft=i&as_sitesearch=consumerreviews.org&as_qdr=all&as_rights=&as_occt=any&cr=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&safe=images”google listing for all the indexed pages. It’s all positive reviews for the Direct Buy scam AND links to the site. Nothing else.

    Another thing they are doing is buying ad time on radio shows that have very high profile, respected, trusted people, like Dr. Laura, to promote them.

    I got into a big argument with a Direct Buy salesman on the phone a few years ago and refused to take a tour. But hearing the ads got me thinking that they had cleaned up their act. Apparently not!

  4. Alison Moore Smith Says:

    Sorry, I guess html tags don’t work on this site.

    Go to google and put this in the search field:

    site:consumerreviews.org


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