We can all go off half-cocked sometimes. Yet on the Internet you can do a lot of damage to someone's reputation. It's probably the biggest danger that I see to the free-wheeling Internet world.
Over a year ago I did a post about a product that I really liked. I got some positive feedback on the article, and I didn't think much more about it other than to see it show up in the stats once in a while.
Sometime this fall when I was swamped with other stuff, someone posted something negative about the company. I should have checked it out immediately, but I was doing classes and studying for exams so it slipped my memory until I got a note from a friend of the owners telling me the comments were false.
I sent back that the owners were welcome to tell me their side of the story, and I would act accordingly. I got a nice letter from the company owners which prompted me to remove the negative comments from my website.
I think one of the weaknesses of world of blogs is just pure lack of time and adequate resources to check everything in a freewheeling environment. I am very careful about what I mention on my blogs, but it is easy to slip up.
I did a post on one of my other blogs on "Blogs and personal product marketing." While doing that post last night, it occurred to me that I've never sold anything in which I didn't have absolute confidence. It turns out that all that confidence has come from using the product or service.
The other part to that is that I have been lucky enough to be in positions where I could fix problems when they happen as they inevitably do. If you see me mention a product or service on one of my blogs, be assured that I have tried it and am sharing my h0nest comments.
Maybe there will be some checks and balances on the Internet someday, but right now we just have to depend on the personal integrity of the individual. I plan to guard mine jealously.
Maybe all of that is being a Boy Scout, but I have never had a problem with that. The huge visibility that you can gain in an instant on the Internet from articles like my, "What Jobs told me on the iPhone," is both an honor and a huge responsibility.
While I plan to make the most of the great visibility, I don't exactly have any plans to get rich off of it.