Help Your Online Customers Feel Confident Even If Theyve Never Heard Of You

The Internet world is truly exciting ? there is no limit to what you can learn or how much you can earn. Every day, thousands of new people are staking their claim on the Internet, and putting up their own personal online storefronts, proudly displaying their wares to millions of potential customers.

Sounds great, doesn't it? It's the Internet dream. But there's one very big problem.

If your company or website is a new one - and many internet companies are relatively new because the Internet itself is still in its infancy ? then how can your potential customers trust you when you have not been in business long enough to build a track record?

And as a consumer, how do you know when you can trust what you see on a website? Anyone can put up a snazzy webpage these days. How can we as buyers know if we are just taking on headaches when we entrust our hard-earned dollars to an online merchant?

When you're considering spending your money online based on red-hot sales page, it's often a tough call.

I found two versions of what you might call the "online police" ? both of which have excellent reputations. One is the Better Internet Bureau, an organization based in Canada (, and another one is i-Cop, based in Louisiana ( In both cases, the organizations' names say it all.

Both groups exist to provide unbiased scrutiny of member websites, as well as to alert people to scams; and both provide their own seals as validation that a website has met their criteria for membership. The cost for the Better Business Bureau is $35 per year, and for i-Cop, it is $19.95 per month. i-Cop membership includes a private members site and hosting, and the Better Internet Bureau has a public forum open to all.

Becoming a member of a well-known internet organization such as these can greatly increase your credibility in the eyes of your customers. You know you're honest, but how does anyone else know when they just stumbled onto your website during an internet stroll? You can't go wrong considering membership in the online watchdog group of your choice ? it's just good for business. Increased customer confidence means a bigger check for you at the end of the month. I have seen some websites which are members of more than one group.

The more online businesses become members of similar groups, the more unusual it will seem when a commercial website does not display a membership in a group that holds it accountable for its dealings.

Watchdog organizations exist to benefit people, and for the online marketer, this will produce a win-win situation for the merchant and the customer.

It's all about credibility. Your customers need to know they can count on you ? and they need to know where they can turn if a merchant can't be trusted. Join a reputable online watchdog group, and ease your customer's mind about dealing online with you.

Tim Phillips is a marketing consultant who writes about Internet Marketing and other topics. His articles have appeared all over the internet. He is writing his first ebook based on what he has learned from

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