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.