Those of you who've been following me for a while (either here or on one of my blogs, Twitter or Google+, etc) know that I speak my mind. You probably also know that it sometimes gets me in trouble. Why? Because I'm not part of the swarm. Ever. I'm missing that gene. I understand it and I observe it. It helps me to predict cultural and economic change accurately, but I make my own decisions. I think for myself, weigh things up, and make an intelligent choice. That means that when something starts to feel a bit 'iffy', I won't continue to promote it - even if it's bringing in good money - because that wouldn't serve my followers. It wouldn't be authentic. You matter more to me than an affiliate payment. When I say 'you need to get in on this now', I want you to feel safe about making a quick decision before you miss out. If I'm untrustworthy, you can't do that. Write that down. You need to be the same way with your own followers, prospects and customers. It will serve both of you well.
Look at my post on Groupon, for instance. I LOVED that company, and I promoted them heavily when they were doing everything right, so that you'd reap the benefits. MANY of you did. I know. My affiliate payments rocked because of everything you bought through my links! However, when they treated me badly (and I was able to ascertain that this was not an isolated thing. Bear in mind that ALL companies and ALL people screw up from time to time, so I needed to be certain it wasn't an isolated incident. Write that down too. Be fair in your dealings) I told you. It cost me financially to do so, but my name is the most valuable thing I have.
There's another lesson here. Groupon was given many opportunities to resolve the issues, and they didn't take them. The moment the blog went up, the issues were resolved. Great ... except ... if you google 'can you trust Groupon' or 'can I trust Groupon' my post is in the first few results. If everything could be resolved so quickly, it should have been. If it had, I would NEVER have blogged about it. Think ahead when you have made an error. Apologise and fix it.
It was a point of integrity and authenticity to remove their banners from my blogs. In doing so I took a financial hit, but I had to be real with you. If I don't trust a brand, I can't promote it. I told you I would get back to you after I had re-tested Groupon for you as a customer. That way, I would be able to reinstate the banners and report that it was just a blip, and that Groupon was back to its wonderful, former, self ... or not.
Well, I've tested them again and ... nothing's arrived. I'm going to get back on the phone to customer services again, but with news stories like this appearing about the company, it has a long way to go to convince me I should promote it again. My current stance on Groupon is that I still think some of the deals are unbeatable but ... BUYER BEWARE. If the only thing that matters to you is cost, stick with Groupon. If you want decent delivery times and good customer service, weigh up your options. Two of the people I've spoken with on customer service there have been good. One was exceptionally good. The others have been patronising and unhelpful. On balance, the treatment you're likely to receive can best be described as 'variable'.
The company won me over brilliantly and consistently delivered on its promises for a number of months, so I still have affection for it and hope that it turns itself around. Until it does, make sensible decisions. If you choose price over quality of delivery and treatment, you can't really complain when that's all you get.
I'll keep you posted. If they fix their ways, I'll be the FIRST to put up their banner and issue a call to 'buy, buy, buy!!!' Until then, I'm looking out for you and I urge caution for now.