SHCC WYSIWYG Article from March 2005

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This article was written by Don VanSyckel, the club president, as a part of "The President's Pen".  This article appeared in the March 2005 WYSIWYG newsletter.

Digital Revolution and Accountability

by Don VanSyckel

The digital revolution continues to expand and encompass more and more of everyday life. While driving around town, have you noticed that many if not most trucks on the road have a URL for their web site displayed on the truck. Many TV advertisements have the URL of the sponsor's web site displayed in the ad. Many of the products at the grocery store have URLs listed on them. Businesses around town are offering free wireless connections to the internet. The electronic age, the age of THE NET seems to be everywhere.

The good news is you can virtually reach out and touch someone next door or half way around the world. The bead news is someone can reach out and touch you (your computer) from next door or half way around the world. One example of this is the club has begun receiving email advertisements of various products. Many sound absolutely great and they might be or they might not be. After going through the motions of passing these offers onto the club membership I realized something. These offers told a great deal about the product and they never left out how you could buy it. What was consistently missing was any information about the company such as their location and contact information.

I'm a great believer in 'one reason people don't tell you something is because they don't want you to know it". So I decided that is a company doesn't tell me their location and contact information that they were concealing it and if they are concealing it they don't want me to know. Now ask yourself if someone is concealing their location from you why would you want to do business with them? So I started scanning these wonderful offers for company location and contact information. I usually didn't find any so I went to their web site. Now here is where I got a real surprise. Very few web sites list the company location and contact information and those that did many times had it several levels deep such that you had to be specifically looking for it to ever find it. Also most of the companies that did list location were location in the former Soviet Union. Have you ever had a dispute with a mail order company? It's bad enough when they're located in the States. I can't image what it would be like off shore.

So I started looking at only the email for the location and contact information. Then if it's there I check to see if they're domestic. If they are I forward the information along to the club members. There might be some excellent products out there being offered by very honest people from off shore but how do you draw the line? You wouldn't believe how many emails I trash.

The other big area I see advertised on TV is internet gambling. You have no idea where these sites are located. They are not obligated to obey any laws or regulations except of the country where they're located if that country even knows about them. Frequenting any of the online gambling sites is not a very prudent thing to do. (I would have used much much strong wording of the last sentence but I like to think of SHCC as a family friendly organization.) Stay away from online gambling. If you want to gamble go downtown or to Winsor.

End of Article

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