I get asked to view a lot of things. And sometimes, particularly when there’s a potential tangible relationship, I will actually go visit sites. (BTW, I tend to avoid what comes unsolicited, and instead trust to what comes through my social network.) And one of my strategies often fails, and that, to me, is a warning sign.
When I go to sites (not from familiar companies, but new ones), one of the places I’m very likely to visit is the ‘About Us’ page or equivalent. There’s a reason I do that: I want to know something about who is behind this, and why. They’re linked, but separable.
There’re a couple of reasons to be clear about who’s behind this. One is for authenticity: is there someone willing to put their name to what this is and what it’s about? And why them? What background do they have that makes them credible to be the ones behind this endeavor?
And the why is about what motivates them? Are they doing this because of a passion, or because they think it’s a good business opportunity? Either’s acceptable, but what you want is coherence between the people and what they’re doing. Ideally, it’s a good story that links them.
There are sites that are clearly out to make money, and some that are out to meet a real need. There are some that have been created by folks who have an idea but not necessarily a clue, and then there are those created by those who should be doing it. And when you get both together, need and clue, you have a site you are willing to investigate further.
It may seem overly harsh or naive, and I’m sure someone could spin a good story and fool me (and has ;), but I think this is a good heuristic, a good reality check, on any site that’s looking to interact with others. If my search fails to find the requisite information, my antennas start quivering, and my defenses go up. A personal opinion, of course. Do you agree? Do you have other checks that you like better? Eager to hear your thoughts.