By Paul Pannone
The wedding world was rocked by an exchange between Samantha Goldberg and Wedding Wire talking about brides who were scammed out of money by listed vendors on the website. The topic of culpability is being discussed among Wedding Water Cooler members after Wedding Wire’s Sonny Ganguly gave a corporate statement citing the rules, regulations, restrictions and the zero downside or legal liability for what’s being called a flawed format.
Sonny Ganguly and many other website owners look at the business side of the business, leaving the emotional part to automated systems.
Goldberg has become the voice speaking out against all wedding websites that run under algorithms, sans the human and emotional touch that governs every other aspect of wedding planning. Wedding Wire has suddenly become the latest website called out for fostering the emotional exchange of opinions without (adequate) human intervention , according to opposing sources.
Goldberg and other members of the Water Cooler group are currently discussing the business part of the Wedding wire business. It’s widely known that the product and service the website provides is personal, emotional and highly subjective. That’s where Wedding Wire gets caught between a rock and hard-place.
In a shared email to Ganguly, Samantha Goldberg points the finger of blame claiming the company’s slow reaction to take off a listing makes them an accomplice to criminal activity.
“Just so that we are clear, you have been given documented proof currently on your site, by a legitimate and ethical company that you are supporting a criminal offense. You would be considered an accomplice to a federal offense for allowing this to continue. This is a very serious matter which could cost Wedding Wire a substantial amount of money should some of the families come together and file a civil lawsuit against the entire WW brand and sister sites such as Wedding Bee, Project Wedding, E Harmony and various others. You’re now allowing for this continuation of a crime which can also bring other issues in which it would be improper to suggest the outcome,” according to Goldberg.
An ongoing eWedNewz investigation dating back to 2010 that includes major websites headed by corporate-minded leaders suggests they’re out of touch with small businesses and brides. Most dismiss the idea saying they employ “experts” that can relate with both. If that’s the case why are there so many problems?
Discussions in the Water Cooler say successful websites of the past including theKnot and Wedding Wire were the forerunners of today’s Social Networking systems. They were a place where brides could share ideas before and leading up to the wedding. But with the rising impact of Social networking– namely Facebook– the increasing use of Social media and ability to connect so easily to information, goods and service has rendered community websites less powerful.
“People connect only to friends and family they trust on Facebook. There is little or no risk that the information they get will hurt them, as was the case with exchange between Samantha and Wedding Wire.
Wedding Wire is an indirect competitor. Regardless, I’m objective enough to be realistic about an evaluation of the way in which it operates. Initially, I thought (like everyone else) that review sites offered a brilliant concept — until it was proved that they had no reasonable control of listings or reviews. On one hand, there’s only so much that any media can do to protect the public against fraud. In the case of paid listings, most media demand advance payment from first time advertisers. Depending upon the amount of money involved, the media company may even require credit references. This helps to eliminate some of the problem.
On the other hand, it appears that Wedding Wire and other review sites cut corners to turn a profit. I don’t know how these sites generate/obtain their free listing information. However, there’s little question that they should be a lot more careful in their selection process. There’s also no question that review sites should be held accountable for fabricated reviews — both good and bad.
It has been argued that controls to confirm the validity of a listing and review veracity — both good and bad — would make sites like Wedding Wire far less profitable. Some have stated that review sites couldn’t exist if they were forced to comply with strict compliance codes. If that’s case, maybe these sites shouldn’t exist,” according to Jim Duhe.
What do you think?
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