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  • The individuals who post here work at Intuit and are some of the best and brightest. The opinions expressed here, while probably right and certainly smart, are their own, and are not necessarily reviewed in advance by anyone but the individual author. Sometimes, the author is audacious and decides to post an opinion without a buddy reviewing it, and at other times, he or she may seek counsel of a friend. Regardless, these opinions do not necessarily reflect the view of Intuit or any other person or company. Although, since these people are smart to begin with, Intuit might agree with them - or might not.
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« Pride and Prejudice in User Feedback | Main | Behind the Curtain »

March 31, 2006

Damned If You Do...

Sometimes a business owner is upset when he discovers that he's listed on Zipingo. And sometimes a business owner is upset when he's not.

Today, a user wrote that, as a long-time user of Quicken software, he thought it was offensive that his business was not included in the Zipingo database...maybe we had overlooked him. Meanwhile, another customer was equally offended that she was included in Zipingo because she never granted us permission to be listed or to allow users to .

Yeah, it's hard to please folks with conflicting ideas. This obvious "customer preference" paradox made me think...heck, I'm gonna kill two misconceptions with one blog stone.

Misconception #1: Intuit customers are listed on Zipingo automatically
Wouldn't that be something? But wait...what if the customer info you gave us was not in the public domain? We'd be in deep doggy doo if we violated your trust by grabbing your private user registration data -- just because it's convenient -- and used it for any purpose other than what appears in our . So we don't do it.

Wondering how we populated Zipingo to begin with? Easy. Our initial business listings were provided by an outside service provider.

And where did the other listings come from? You know, the ones that we didn't get from the provider? Those were entered by individual users when they each decided to add a review of a personal business experience.

Misconception #2: Business owners must grant permission before they are listed on Zipingo
Sorry, wrong again. We're not sending email to these businesses, so there is no opt-in permission-based communications involved. We're just listing known businesses, as found in public records, and users are sharing their comments.

Hey, it's the same way it's worked for centuries. Sharing business information is a standard cultural practice. Your grandmother chatted with her neighbor about the baker who cheated her out of a few cookies. Your father told his college buddy about the restaurant downtown that grilled the most mouth-watering steak he ever tasted. Nope, the business owners never gave your folks permission but your folks talked anyway...and their neighbors, college chums and business colleagues all appreciated hearing about it. That's life.

But wait! Isn't the Internet media and isn't it published, more or less? Uh-huh. And there's an historical precedent for sharing business information this way, too.

In 1912, the concept of filing a business complaint was formalized with the founding of the first BBB office. Did every business grant the BBB permission to collect and share business listings and their associated reliability reports? I doubt it. In fact, I used to be an freelancer, and I can tell you, the BBB never got my permission before including me in their records. But I know they had me listed because they telephoned to congratulate me on my good reputation and -- by the way -- invite me to purchase a membership. I'm still trying to figure out if the membership plaque would have looked better over the sofa or the toilet. (Just kidding.)

Anyway, thank goodness for Internet technology, because I can find out just about anything on a real business, product or service in a matter of seconds. That's because, in the mid 1990s, Web sites started to collect and publish listings and user-generated reviews of everything -- you name it. For example, book sites list every book they can sell, and yes, you guessed it, authors have no say in whether or not their books are reviewed publicly.

And now we're in the 21st Century, and Zipingo? Same old concept of sharing opinions but with a new twist. Rate a business experience. Now do it from your financial software while you're balancing the books. Or just .

Phew! Here I am being long-winded again. Well, to make an excruciatingly long story short...

As much as I would like to please all of the business owners all of the time, I simply can't. If you're lucky enough to be included in Zipingo's database, count your blessings and go with the flow, dude. Send your customers here to build a great reputation for you.

And if your business is conspicuously absent, help your customers by handing them a business card that says "Rate Me on Zipingo." You'll get added and in no time at all, you'll be part of our growing community.

And that's it. It's Friday and time to wrap things up.

~ Zipingo Kim


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