Have you ever been in a bathroom where there is all kinds of graffiti and nonsense written all over the walls? It seems that everyone who ever went in there had an opinion, and most of it is a bad opinion of someone else. It is nasty, dirty and misinformed at best.

The internet is the same. Google is the bathroom wall of the universe. You can search just about any term and find thousands of opinions and that is all that they are. One site will tell you all of the evils of McDonalds and another site will rave how awesome McDonalds is. You can search the term “Google is a scam” and find 500,000 opinions confirming that Google is indeed a scam. They are opinions. Someone had the wherewithal to build their own website so they can say anything that they want to. Blogs are often just people spouting off on a rant. You may find some good tips on how to make a cake, however you need to realize that this where people have the freedom to post whatever they want. It could be biased. It could be wrong. It could be plain stupid!

Using The Bathroom Wall

People look on the internet. If you are new in business this is good news for you. You can make yourself be found. You can make up pages that talk about you in a good way. Just by having a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a Google+ profile you can own 4 out of 10 spots on Google’s first page when someone searches your name. If you add a blog, a YouTube channel or do some guest blogs for someone else’s website you can dominate page 1 on your personal name. This is great!

Remember however, that other savvy people can do the same. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Even if it comes from a third party source, those can be created by the people promoting their cause, or from a vicious competitor. A few years ago I watched hundreds of people loose investment monies because one person felt slighted and went on an internet rampage. He created blogs, websites, and wrote on hundreds of forums using a variety of aliases and destroyed an entire enterprise due to a vendetta. Later it was found that the CEO of the company had slept with his wife and that is what fueled his passion to tell such lies. It had nothing to do with the quality or the validity of the investments, but hundreds of people lost significant amounts of cash due to his attack.

Do A Lot Of Research Beyond The Bathroom Wall

Television in the past has been a powerful media and remains so today. When an exposé is done, do you think they always tell the truth? Sensationalism sells. A few years ago we saw Goji Juice taken out by a reporter with a vendetta. They showed up at the founder’s home early in the morning and stuck a microphone in his face and then were delighted to report how crazy the guy behaved. He was set up and that took out thousands of people who had invested time and effort into the healthy alternative of Goji. Today online people use catchy titles to draw you in. So do your own research and think it through before believing everything your read online or otherwise.

A search done on Google is not doing diligence about a company or a person. Most reputable universities will not allow their students to use a search engine as a resource because anyone can say anything. Real research looks beyond Google. If you are planning to buy a company or invest your time in one, you will want the real facts. The Dragons on Dragon’s Den are not asking how popular you are online. Why? Because with some reputation management that can be created to say anything. They are asking for real numbers. How many units sold? What is the bottom line? Where will you spend the money? What is the valuation of your company? Those are the things that matter, not the pretty picture you painted on Google.

My favourite one yet though has got to be how people will look up a multi-level marketing company online and find all the opinions of people who could not do it, or would not leave their couch to do it and now they have a blog cutting it down. That is ridiculous. It is the equivalent of taking advice from a guy who got fired from your company for writing on the bathroom wall and falling asleep on the toilet! The internet is the bathroom wall of the universe! Anyone can say anything. Again there are questions you should ask but they should be answered by someone who has the information. How long has the company been in business? What was their annual revenue last year? Is it one product, or do they offer a diversified offering in case of a bad economic climate? How many countries are they in? Are people making money locally that I can meet and talk to? And here is a really good question, “What other businesses or famous personalities are in league with this one?” You can be sure that Donald Trump’s lawyers didn’t do their research on Google. You can be just as certain that Canadian Tire, Superstore and Microsoft have a legal department who spent thousands or possibly millions of dollars before they aligned themselves with this company. Corporations don’t care what Aunt Sally has to say, and they are not reading the opinion of Bubba’s Blog who failed in network marketing! They looked at hard numbers and real reputation before those companies formed any kind of partnership with the opportunity in question. Those are a few of the things that matter and you won’t usually find the answers on the bathroom wall of the universe.

The bottom line with research is that research needs to be done. Using a platform where anyone can say anything is not research. It is gossip at best. The bathroom wall of the universe is no more likely to bring you enlightenment than the bathroom wall at the gas station!

Kerry George is a serial entrepreneur from Calgary Alberta. She is the founder of Loyal2U.ca an online guerilla marketing company, the owner of the Calgary Business Network, and the CEO of the Canadian Imperial Business Network. Kerry is a published author and you can find many of her articles online at cibn.ca, Loyal2U.ca and her personal blog is loyal2u.blogspot.ca.

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