Debunking Fake Experts & Bogus Advice in 5 Steps
Every day we receive phone calls and e-mails from customers asking us various questions about glass for their cars or trucks and commercial glass for their businesses. Regardless of the industry, there appears to be a great void out there for consumers in need of accurate information.
When anyone goes online and searches the web there is no shortage of would-be-experts, but is this accurate information? How do consumers decide which information should be trusted and which is bogus.
Case in Point
One of my hobbies is fishing. Last year I was reading a professional fishing forum when a new “expert” had emerged and was giving a lot of advice. For quite some time this so called expert was gaining a great deal of momentum and acquired a lot of followers. But, as time went on, things he was saying just weren’t adding up.
It turns out this would-be prophet was a twelve-year-old kid. Eeeesh…Some of the best fishermen in the world were being “duped” into following this less-than-credible angler.
The moral of the story is there are a lot of online resources, but too many people out there hide behind an Avatar, so you really don’t know who is providing the information, and what their motive is. Here’s 5 ways to vet information, represented as “expert,” while navigating the online universe:
1. Depend only on information that has been pre-screened by the “wisdom of the mob.” LinkedIn Answers offers a mechanism that allows many professionals from any business category to vote for the best answers. It’s much harder to fool a group of industry folks. Look for answers that get a lot of votes in categories with a lot of participation.
2. When seeking referrals, use sites that vet and review the reviewer. For instance, AngiesList accepts no anonymous reviews and certifies the data collection process to prevent companies from reporting on themselves or their competitors.
3. Search Google for the name of the so-called expert. Anyone who is truly an authority in their space should have page after page of citations in the search engine results. Fresh articles and interviews that offer true value are great indicators of true thought leadership. If the expert has a common name, add the category, i.e. [expert name] + auto glass replacement.
4. Test the expert’s theories early. For any piece of information found on the Internet, do follow up research to verify any tips received. It’s better to find our a potential Guru is full of crap early in the process, before you have some hack company wreck your windshield or living room window.
5. Search Google for [Expert’s Name] + sucks, or other words that are obvious triggers for dissatisfaction. You would be amazed what is revealed.
As CEO of our company, I work to instill a sense that we are a go-to trusted resource for our customers in our industry. As any reputable business, we strive to be a resource that’s easy to access and has accurate and truthful information– from a source you can trust.
As a consumer, we encourage you to take what you read on the net with a grain of salt. Validate and verify the authenticity of any free advice by these simple methods, to stay out of trouble. Happy searching.