Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: Shopping Online Safety

As we get closer to Christmas, many are online getting last minute bargains with express shipping. There are some warning signs and tips that consumers need to be aware of.

Are you buying from a credible source? Use caution.

When you search on search engines, such as Google, you will see "Sponsored Listings." Remember, these are paid advertisers. With this it becomes a competition of what vendor or potential scam has the deeper pockets to pay to out-bid the others.

As a small business owner, I have used and limited my use of "Sponsored Listings" for several reasons. First and foremost there are major contenders in many businesses that have a large budget just for this type of marketing. It can be literally impossible for a small business to even compete in the high rankings of Sponsored Listings.

Does this mean the businesses with the larger marketing budget are any better than the small business? Are their products or services any better? Or is their marketing superior? That comes down to personal opinion.

If you find a product or service via a Sponsored Listing, take the time to search the name of the company in the Google, Bing, Yahoo search box. Determine if they are a business that has longevity, media, or other articles and websites about them. Are they a member of the Better Business Bureau?

As you surf online this final week prior Christmas, take an extra few minutes to be sure you are buying from a reliable vendor. Remember, there is Internet fact and a lot of Internet fiction or fraud. It is up to you not to get caught in the web.

Reminder: Holiday Safety Tips

This article is not targeted at all Sponsored Listings, it is only a heads-up about how some vendors may use this technique to entice consumers.

Also on Examiner.

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