The following article was prepared by Mike Taylor, C.P.M. for distribution to NAPM affiliate newsletters. 


Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth

As we have discussed in several articles, "e" is big. I mean "E" is REALLY BIG! Everyone and every company is jumping on the band wagon. With so many "gift" horses running around, it's easy to forget the basics. As buyers, it's our job to check out each new "E-business" opportunity and ask a lot of direct questions before getting involved.

There are many ways to look "in the mouth" of a gift horse. A previous article on this subject is posted at www.mltweb.com/ec/fraud.htm. Here is a real life example of how you might apply those recommendations.

Today I received an email newsletter from a "reliable" source. One of the articles in the newsletter highlighted a new web site for Buyers and Sellers called MARKETGATE-WAY. Go ahead and take a look; www.marketgateway.net . Please understand, this is the first time I've heard of this site and I don't have anything against (or for) these people. It might be the greatest new web site around or it might not. You need to form your own opinion.

Here are a few questions I asked myself as I was looking around the web site.

1- The site asks for Buyers and sellers to "register" before using the service. I wonder what they are going to do with all that information? I looked, but didn't find a privacy policy (it could be there somewhere). Before supplying any information to any web site, I want assurance that they will not be selling or renting information about me, my email address or company, etc.

2- How are they are paying for this web site? I notice a few advertisements. That's O.K. with me. I can live with a few ads. However, I also notice the following comment on the front page about becoming a member; "It's free for a limited time." Kind of makes you wonder when it will not be free and who will be charged for using the service. Also makes you wonder how they will avoid a conflict of interest if one party pays to advertise to the other party.

3- Who are the owners of this web site? I went to the contact page. It does have a phone number listed, but no names nor mailing address.

4- I looked up the owner of the web site. You can do this at www.allwhois.com . Try it. Kind of interesting reading. One of the owners listed is Santa Fe Solutions, Corp and the other is CEO Praxis, Inc. There are also mailing addresses for both listed in New Mexico. Of course there is no way from the listing to tell if one is just a holding company or the web site operator.

5- Next I went to an Internet Search Engine (in this case www.dogpile.com) and searched to see what I could find out about Santa Fe Solutions. I found the following link; http://www.roadrunner.com/~cpa/ Now we know that Santa Fe Solutions is an internet service provider.

6- I also did a search on the web site name and found a link to the following company. CEO Praxis in North Dakota. http://www.ceopraxis.com/ Now it seems like we are finally getting to the meat of the information. The CEO Praxis site includes news releases and information about the Marketgateway web site which implies that they own it or started it.

I still have a few more questions and want to do a little more digging before I use the service. But now I am getting a clearer picture of who is involved and what is going on. I'd like to read further in all of the search engine results to see what other news releases and information have been posted about both companies. I might also want to try looking up these companies in the yellow pages, as well as checking the Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau web sites. At the very least I want to send an email to the Marketgateway web site operators and inquire about a privacy policy, get some real people identified as contacts, and talk about how they expect to fund the service.

I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with this company. I'm sure if you look, you'll find similar questions about other "E" commerce gift horses. I'm just saying that it is our responsibility to look that gift horse in the mouth.


MLTWEB is assembled and maintained by Michael L. Taylor, C.P.M. 
Materials and articles prepared by Mike may be shared for purchasing education provided that this source is cited and no fee is charged. The rights for any other use are withheld.
Copyright;  Michael L. Taylor, C.P.M.
Last Updated: 02/26/2012