Thursday, 15 January 2009

The On -Line Blues


I recently had a meeting with an adventure activity operator who mentioned that he had received a bad write up on Hello Peter. For those who don’t know Hello Peter is a South African site where members of the public can air their views and expose businesses where they feel they have encountered unsatisfactory service.

The site itself is an excellent idea and is very well read by Joe Public; my concern with it has always been that it does also provide a forum for those wanting to do unwarranted damage, purely for the sake of being Malicious.

This particular adventure operator has an excellent reputation and has invested in high end equipment superior to his competitors; he has thrown money at the business and in doing so is succeeding in cornering the market. Those in the area that have been trading longer than he has, well, lets just say there is no love lost.

The message on Hello Peter was a one liner slating the operator something to the effect of shocking service, inferior equipment and I demand my money back. The authors name is clearly a pseudonym, and the vendor had up to that point, only ever received compliments on his offering. Whoever it is had not complained to him directly on the day, so he has every reason to think, it is more likely somebody with grudge rather than a legitimate complaint.

When I asked him if he had responded to it, he basically implied that in order to do so, he has to list his company and there is a cost involved, he doesn’t think it’s worth it. He feels it’s a once off complaint by some coward who doesn’t have the strength of his convictions to make contact directly, or at very least attach a contactable name to it.

He reckons if poor service is really the case, he has absolutely no problem compensating this individual. Since any sign of this complaint has only ever appeared on Hello Peter, it makes him believe that it is likely a vendetta post, strange but true.

My feeling is that if the “Accused” in a manner of speaking, is not allowed to respond to the criticism without incurring a cost, especially small businesses who have to watch their pennies as well as their reputation, I don’t believe its fair play…….just some food for thought.

(Photo, I am so angry at computer, by Jonbro, courtesy of www.flickr.com)

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