The Importance of Credentials on the Web
By Mike Clowe
How important is it to provide credentials on the Web? The Web is an essentially anonymous media. Businesses claim to be whatever they want, many times without any proof at all.
In the wake of the Wikipedia scandals, where two of their top contributors were found to be grossly misrepresenting themselves, it is becoming increasingly important to provide credentials to prove what you claim to be is actually who you are. The Wikipedia incident was just an example of what is happening throughout the internet. As the online world and the off-line world come closer together, people are starting to check claims made on the internet against the facts.
Wikipedia will come out of this just fine. They will ask their authors to identify themselves, but other than that nothing will change. Now imagine if this had happened to an online retailer. They would be out of business. The biggest fear many online consumers have is getting cheated. This is why many businesses use credibility indicators and have live operators to address customers’ fears — to build trust. All of that trust can be destroyed by one false claim.
It all comes down to Transparent Marketing. As businesses we need to represent ourselves fairly and honestly to our customers. Not only that but we need to provide clear and concise proof that what we say is true. The age anonymity on the web is coming to an end.