View Full Version : The Internet's Biggest Problem

08-14-2008, 04:34 PM
I came across this article (http://www.e-consultancy.com/news-blog/365988/the-internet-s-biggest-problem.html) which says that the Internet's biggest problem is the fact that it allows the spread of disinformation or misinformation. Anyone can put up a web site or write a blog or sell and e-book and claim to be an expert.

I think this is a problem and one that many legitimate Internet entrepreneurs are facing. As more people get burned by scams and disinformation, they get more wary of every pitch they see on the Internet.

Have you encountered any skeptical customers or are you aware of any cynicism about Internet pitches? How do you combat that wariness on your own web site?

08-14-2008, 06:26 PM
Didn't have a chance to look at the article, Kristine, but I find it's proportional to computer literacy. Basic precautions and you are protected. Things like only using one credit card for online purchases. If your market is the elderly or any grouping that is less likely to be computer savy, you will see more of this. Prominently displayed phone numbers help for people that don't trust the internet as well.

08-14-2008, 08:25 PM
I think there's something to be said for all the things you mentioned, but I think a bigger problem, and one which hasn't been addressed yet, is that anyone can put up a site and claim to be an expert about something, without really having that expertise. Now, you might say it's a case of buyer beware, and that no one should be accepting legal or major advice of any kind off the Internet, but people do.

How many people go to WebMD when they want to diagnose an ailment?

08-14-2008, 08:25 PM
I have to agree that computer literacy has a direct impact. I am an advocate of "qualifying the source" which they force you to do in school (not sure about all schools, but then I would disqualify the school if they don't). If you're not sure about information, you can always check it against reputable sources. If it can't be verified, then I'm very cautious.

08-14-2008, 09:01 PM
I actually think it's the internet's greatest strength though it does change some paradigms. I understand that it means anyone can put up a page or site and claim expertise, but it's also good that real exports or just people with opinions. don't need to jump through hoops to get their voice heard.

It leads to a different challenge. In the past when you had less choice for information you might have read your local newspaper, watched the late news and you believed what it said. Having a lot more information and misinformation puts the responsibility on each of us for discovering the truth.

We live in an age of information where the problem is no longer finding information, but deciding which information to trust. That's really neither good or bad. It's just different and we have to change with the new paradigm.

I'd rather have access to more information even if it means I have to filter out more garbage. It's a better option than having limited sources of information, which makes it much easier to keep the truth from people.

08-15-2008, 12:28 AM
I personally believe that the number of people to be taken by scams due to disinformation does not always make them wary enough. There have been endless stories of people that get taken over and over again by scams on the internet, that with just a little common sense would reveal the truth that if it looks to good to be true then it probably is.

I am fairly computer literate, and tend to be wary of anything that i read, even things that sound legitimate i will start questioning and looking for people who are talking about it before i do anything to make sure i have a good understanding of what i am gettting myself in to.

08-15-2008, 12:56 AM
AOL had a bad habit of not canceling your account when you ask them to. Kept doing recharges. I think there was a class action suit on that one. People still flock to AOL.

Even some seemingly credible companies play games. Look at Microsoft. They don't sell xp anymore, vista doesn't work with most older programs, and to run vista you need a new machine with a ton of ram. That's an internet scam IMO.

08-15-2008, 01:51 PM
Not being a big fan of Vista, I mostly agree with bill on that one.

08-15-2008, 02:53 PM
I have Linux running on a machine and my plan is to slowly migrate to it over the next 6 months. I haven't had time to play with it much yet. Just about everything you need as a webmaster is free though. Actually, how many people need more than open office, firefox and thunderbird? Wife has a laptop with vista so I can use that for testing web pages in IE.

The one thing I haven't found available is an Illustrator equivalent. Photoshop yes.