7) Reputation matters – check it!

When you walk into a doctor’s
office, you like to see those frames hanging, right? The degrees from the
prestigious medical school and certificates of completion from a reputable
hospital residency program? The license from your state’s Board of Registration
in Medicine, maybe? They don’t mean your doctor’s a good clinician, mind you.
They just mean that she or he has attained a level of competency and been
evaluated by professionals who know. And that, at the very least, gives you a
measure of comfort in the quality of care you get.

When you walk into a doctor’s
office, you like to see those frames hanging, right? The degrees from the
prestigious medical school and certificates of completion from a reputable
hospital residency program? The license from your state’s Board of Registration
in Medicine, maybe? They don’t mean your doctor’s a good clinician, mind you.
They just mean that she or he has attained a level of competency and been
evaluated by professionals who know. And that, at the very least, gives you a
measure of comfort in the quality of care you get. The same should be true with
online retailers and e-commerce sites. But, alas, shoppers rarely look around, and that’s a
mistake. While online reputation is a slippery area and, by no means, as clear
cut as the world of medicine, there are any number of organizations that are in
the business of insuring that Web sites protect your privacy and the security
of sensitive data. TRUSTe is the best known among them, but there are others,
as well, offered by both industry groups like the Better Business Bureau
and by private firms. Take a look around the Web site you want to shop at for a
seal indicating that the site has submitted itself to some kind of audit. And
make sure to read the site’s privacy policy, too, to make sure your data won’t
be resold without your OK.

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