A great many suppliers and buyers rely on using business index websites to help establish contact with clients. These index websites list the services of sometimes millions of organisations and can be fantastic resources for businesses. Many of these service users will never meet in person and will put a lot of their trust in information supplied by these websites. Being aware of this, most successful index websites will use some sort of system to verify legitimacy and/or reputation of those it lists. Quite often users will also have to pay for this verification service to show that they can be trusted, as well as other perks to make them more marketable. But what happens when the verification process requires no real proof other than taking what they are told at face value? It opens the system to widespread abuse with the buyers suffering the most.
Trust is critical in all business ventures, particularly in the international trade market. But it should not be given without pause for thought. You should be critical and question everything, a 100% reputation does not mean much if they have only had one customer. A gold account status might only mean they have paid to be more visible, providing no real proof of their sincerity. Index providers that profit from selling reputation boosting status will have motivation to sell as many as possible, as cheaply as possible. Meaning their checks (if any) might not be as rigorous as you would assume.
Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters
– Albert Einstein
Here are a few tips to help protect yourself:
It takes two to do the trust tango – the one who risks (the trustor) and the one who is trustworthy (the trustee); each must play their role.
– Charles H. Green
Trust, but verify
– Ronald Reagan
If you are still unsure then it may be worth looking elsewhere, where quality and reputation assurances you can trust are easier to come by. Business index websites like mangob2b are primarily focused on providing trust as the foundation and most important factor in developing buyer/seller relationships.
References: Trust in trade, NCCR International Trade Regulation: