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Subject: Re: UKNM: Which webtrader scheme
From: Steve Johnston
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 13:04:28 GMT

On 21/03/00, at 02:20, Stefan Magdalinski wrote:

>The problem with all these schemes is that they undermine and confuse
>that which they wish to promote. I'd, as a consumer, no more trust the
>IMRG than a stranger I met in the street, because I've never heard of
>them. On the other hand, less than scrupulous retailers are drawn to
>them because they need to buy whatever credibility they can lay their
>hands on.

Yep, whilst at the IMRG we recognised this very early on. Consumers that
want comfort need to be able to recognise the organisation attempting to
provide it, which is why the Which scheme has been taken up quite widely to
drive up the credibilty - scrupulous or not - of the trading brands. We did
however see the traditional retail businesses wanting to be seen to be
conforming to 'industry standards', so it wasn't just the unknowns who

>Consumers, contrary to popular belief, are not stupid, and see this kind
>of well-intentioned but flawed stuff a mile off.

I'm inclined to disagree here, consumers buying online are doing so with a
broad background of confusing information about fraud, and are definitely
looking for comfort signs when contemplating brands they have never heard
of - nothing unusual here. Sadly this is exactly what the Which scheme gives
them, albeit with no real substance behind it.

>what makes me suspicious? a pokey gif from some obscure 'trustworthy'

Well, we all know you are a bit odd, Stef.

>the obvious thing for Which to do (given their background), would be a
>user-created ratings site, which is also what http://www.shopsmart.com
>would do, if they were brave enough to give ANYONE less than 3 out of 5,
>or if the reviews related to the quality of the sites in any way:

Agreed. It is the _Consumers_ Association afterall. There still remains the
job of policing though, or do you rely on the law of averages to shuffle the
dodgy/skewed/staff-posing-as-customer reviews to the bottom of the pile?


steveatjohnston [dot] co [dot] uk
t: +44 (0) 7050 6050 33
f: +44 (0) 8707 3455 33

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  Re: UKNM: Which webtrader scheme, Stefan Magdalinski

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