While sitting in my hospital bed last week (and thanks to all of my well-wishers, I am truly on the mend), I read, word for word, the Daily Beast article on the Angie’s List scandal. For those of you who may not be up to speed, or just didn’t have all the spare time I happened to find to read a long story – here is the gist. The folks at Angie’s List – a very large corporation that earns some of its income from subscriptions and claims to be the voice of the consumer – are being sued for misrepresenting their business. It seems that companies can pay for higher rankings and can mislead potential customers into thinking that they are highly rated for the quality of their work and service, when, in fact, they are not. Angie’s List charges a premium for “adjusting rankings” and a full 70% of their income is derived from advertising sales. In short, they make their money by allowing un-vetted companies to “buy” their good ranking.
So, why does this matter to us here at Galliard? Well, it’s all about trust. Now, even if the allegations prove to be less serious when this all works its way through the courts, my trust in this, and other organizations like it, has been shaken. We don’t want to be that type of organization.
Instead, we want to be the Consumer’s Report (CR) brand of organization. Each month I pay my subscription to CR – because, so far, I am assured that my subscription dollars allow this organization to test and rate products in an unbiased fashion. I feel like CR has my back.
At Galliard, we DO NOT receive any funding or monies associated with any product or service that we feature. We do not offer or charge for advertising. We don’t even subscribe to Google Ads to gain a little extra income. Instead, we allow our members to offer education about their goods and services and welcome the feedback from our members. We have a LinkedIn site where you can talk about your experiences with any product or service. Sometimes we will set up an opportunity for a group of members to pilot a product and let us know what they think and we’ll share this information with any member that is interested. That is not to say that organizations haven’t approached us with very lucrative deals to partner or feature them in a positive manner; they have. And, at times, I must admit that it has been very tempting. But, in the end, we return to our mission.
As part of our mission, we focus on trying to provide new information, educational opportunities, networking and enhanced resources so that you can up your game – whether you are an advisor or a family business owner. However, to do this, we need members. That is the long and short of it. We work hard to keep our membership costs low and the quality of our information and access to resources high. If supporting this kind of business model makes sense to you and you believe in helping us to grow a virtuous, generous, collaborative organization that is truly focused on the greater good – then join us. If you are already a member, help us to bring others into the fold. If we need to be doing something differently to gain your trust and respect, then let us know.
I really believe that we can do this together – build a solid model for sharing and growing and making a difference. We need organizations and people that may not be perfect, but whom we can trust to make the world a better place. Let’s be that organization.