Can You Trust the Web? The Story of Spikey Reed


Last weekend a friendly neighbour offered us the opportunity to adopt a pet – an Australian lizard known as a Bearded Dragon. Of course my two young boys leapt at the chance and immediately named him Spikey. I was equally thrilled until forking out over $250 for a tank, lights, hiding log, sand, and various live critters for Spikey to eat.

Within 48 hours we had a problem…Spikey was off his food and looking stressed and so I searched online for additional information that might help me. Turns out there is a lot – 460,000 results according to Google!

And here lies the biggest problem. Almost all the information was contradictory with various “experts” claiming different solutions to my care problem. Indeed when talking to the local Reptile pet experts they immediately said “don’t trust the web there’s loads of crap out there”.

Now this applies to almost every category of ‘product’. Type in a search and thousands of experts will give you opinions, many without any of the real depth required to make truly informed decisions. This is only made worse by blogger sites which typically include the rather disparate views of fans on one side and detractors on the other.

The bottom line is who, in this age of information freedom, do we trust? Who’s opinions are valid and how do you know where trusted resources lie? One might argue that’s what you get from recognized publishers and trained journalists. Given the corporate responsibility to try to maintain quality controls, one would imagine they should vet more closely the content they provide…but do they?

What has been emphasised is the reality of the web’s advice on any subject, especially when that information is provided via social media forums. In the B2B space this is critical and highlights how important the balance of social verses traditional emphasis will remain in the future as regards buying decisions.

Oh and Spikey is currently on holiday at the reptile store being encouraged to feed with a little professional coaching and therapy. The free gift has been one of the most expensive I’ve ever received but we can’t wait to get him home – it already feels empty without him.

Dick Reed
Just Media, Inc.

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