Word of Mouth is Real

Just browsing around this morning, I came across a great example of word of mouth marketing. Michael McDerment is a successful Toronto entrepreneur behind the innovative FreshBooks.com online invoicing service. In a 2005 entry on his own blog, he recommends a company called Landmark Merchant Solutions as a “great business partner” for small companies looking for payment gateway services. In the comments to that entry, there is a link to a bulletin board where an amazing conversation has unfolded. Apparently, Landmark isn’t such a great business partner after all.

Shady business practices, drug abuse, sexual harassment, lawsuits. And I’m only about a quarter way down the page. The thread starter has been participating in this conversation for more than three years now. Word of mouth is real.

3 thoughts on “Word of Mouth is Real”

  1. Hey there…I’m a big believer in word of mouth – it’s the number one driver in our business today.

    I think the Landmark post has been taken out of context a little. The reason they were (and continue to be) a good business partner is that they really listened to the insights I had about our customers and their pain in collecting online payments. Landmark (via Joe Garza who is no longer with them) then went and built a leading edge solution that addresses those pain points. I laid out in my original post.

    The service from Landmark that I was discussing was a different set of services than those highlighted in the Ladco Leasing issues you referenced in the “amazing conversation” list. My understanding is that the Ladco issues stem from the leasing of “on premise point of sale terminals”, and this is not a service our customers use. Our customers have been given the ability to get merchant account in a day and they use iTransact, a payment gateway that Landmark resells (reselling is common practice in the gateway space).
    My experience with Landmark (and I can only ever speak for myself) is that they have treated our customers well and Landmark’s services have worked well for them, and that is all I would ask from any partner.

    Anyhow, I do think that the Ladco Leasing issues are a great example of why it’s important to be a good citizen in the community, and if I am not mistaken, Landmark has recognized this and changed (discontinued?) their programs with Ladco.

  2. Thanks, Mike for your comment. I do want to stress that I’ve heard nothing but great things about FreshBooks.com and I wasn’t attempting in any way to associate you or your company with any shenanigans reported on the linked page.

    In fact, the further I read the more bizarre the posts became. I can only surmise that someone from the company (or more likely posing as someone from the company) began posting very inflammatory messages which he then deleted. The responses became just as inflammatory and almost obsessive in their frequency.

    The fallout to this is that even if the parties involved were impostors or crackpots, the name of the company has become irrevocably tarred by the exchange. It’s very important to protect your company’s reputation online.

    Mike’s comment is a perfect example of engaging with the online audience right away and in a professional manner.

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