A few hours ago, Mashable reported on the “Federal Shutdown” of the “Paypal for Criminals.” They were speaking on a company that has been surfacing amongst many Adult and International websites since the beginning of the year, as the alternative banking method to Direct Deposit, Checks, ePassporte and so on. Some companies have even required that you use this as the sole method of payment for platform-service billing.
In the heat of the shutdown, it is quite curious how many legit and illegal businesses will actually suffer from this. Customers will be upset if they use it to pay for their services, and performers (in the case of work-at-home phone operators and web cam models) that have “slid” their payments from their billing platforms into their payment centers actually stand to lose all that they have worked for. Because Liberty Reserve , which is a similar product to Bitcoin, facilitated “a broad range of online criminal activity, including credit card fraud, identity theft, investment fraud, computer hacking, child pornography, and narcotics trafficking,” it is highly unlikely that there is an insurance company set in place to refund customers and ensure payment to service providers all over the World, including an estimated 200,000 American customers alone!
What does this mean for businesses who have required users to switch to this payment method, especially for sole financial purposes? What does it mean just to be affiliated? What does this mean for competitor companies? Well, this means quite a bit. We all can learn a lot from adult content sites that use Bitcoin and from those who do not in aiding our own “vanilla” brands into ongoing success. Bitcoin has not been shutdown like Liberty, but let’s pretend it did for sake of argument, because there had been many threats and tons of scrutiny surrounding the company in recent months. Other than NOT being shutdown, the remaining information is true about Bitcoin. Keep this in mind while reading in learning to understand the importance of Brand Monitoring where your wallet is concerned.
What it means is this: First, these companies stand to lose the customers who have lost money, especially for services not rendered in exchange for money deposited on reserve. Second, it stands to lose content providers and performers acting as Independent Contractors. Thirdly, depending on the Terms of Service given to the customers and services providers via the company in question, the company, itself, may have to recoup the funds on a personal level or stand to lose these assets to their company. If they don’t, they won’t appear reliable or catering to their consumers (both customer and Independent Performer are included in this group).
In addition to quality customer service, it is important to understand that Brand Monitoring must take place on an ongoing basis, especially in this type of fiasco. Brand Monitoring is the practice of monitoring Social Conversation, News Feeds, Reviews, etc. for information and conversation based around your brand.
Combatting negative feedback is very important in helping upkeep a brand’s face, trust and reputability amongst clientele, as well as current and potential consumers. A brand must be able to clear their name from these issues and in showing that they care what their consumers think and the quality of service being provided to them, gaining loyalty and credibility. In every “monitoring session,” affiliates and competitors should never be overlooked in ensuring quality service for brands and their consumers.
In the case of Bitcoin, it is very important that affiliated companies communicate with consumers immediately on the basis of this incident, whether it is to reassure them that accounts will not be affected or to keep them up-to-date on the process of “sorting out situations” related to this matter, especially in cases where Bitcoin has become the primary banking method for these companies — which is also a monopoly, technically!
What does this mean for competitor companies? This means quite a bit, as well! Keeping respect to an Online “Phone Sex and Fetish” business that recently discontinued the Bitcoin option, as their main payment method a week ago, there still appears to be something “fishy” going on. Did they catch wind of the potential of shutdown a week ago when they posted a notification to their contractor control panels? Why haven’t they posted anything since? Were there e-mails sent out? Claims by performers point to “no.” What if a provider was still set up with the Bitcoin service but hadn’t “signed in” to work in a week, while money was kept in reserve from performances and/or content sales while the performer was Offiline? Not only will they lose customers, but they more than likely will lose their cash crops… the performers generating the income and traffic for the site. Where will they go?
While there are companies affiliating themselves with Bitcoin (and are currently “under fire”), there are very reputable companies out there that stick to the books in providing top service in their category. For example, companies like Niteflirt, ensure quality customer service, verify credit card information, ages of users, and even provide refunds to customers, while ensuring that “Flirts” are not punished for any credit card fraud or mishaps that occur with ANY Online Business.
As a matter of fact, companies like Niteflirt are so legit, that they are very strict in content uploads, such is the case in which a minor were to stumble upon their site. While “scantaly clad” men and women appear in thumbnails on the site, pornography is strictly prohibited to “age-verified” customers via Pay-to-View items. Additionally, users will not be exposed to illegal fetishes that prove to be disgusting and taboo. Niteflirt does not condone beastiality, necrophilia, watersports, incest or underage play.
Niteflirt, unlike the competitor site in question, has a “Play Fair” team in play to continuously scan the system for security breaches, content offenders and so on (Other companies that use this approach include: Ingenio, Keen, and Ether for your professional business and psychic needs). Furthermore, users are banned from use and performance rights on the site if found to violate the agreed upon TOS. The “competitor site,” recently connected to Bitcoin, does not comply with these same standards for ethics, which already has audiences questionable with servicing provided by the company.
Brand Monitoring would be of a very obvious importance to this competitor site, because at about the same time that the message about Bitcoin was published, Niteflirt reimplemented International calling capabilities. The lack of capability was the reason that the competitor was allowed to thrive amongst questionable activities in these past few years.
Without a “sound system” of security and quality care, how will they find themselves defending their brand and staying a step ahead? What will they do to regain marketplace potential that is predicted to be lost in the next few months? How will they keep their reputation in the best condition possible and prevent any “bad press” from spreading like wildfire? That’s up to their Brand Monitoring approach and public Plan of Action in defending their brand.
While it seems a particular company was singled out of the bunch, it was important to note that mistakes in the overall quality of a brand can lead to furthered problems due to Organic and Viral Internet Marketing scenarios. A bad wrap can bring down a brand’s ability to thrive and to continue making money! In contrasting this brand’s flaws, it was imperative to compare it to an exquisite alternative, which is actually the leader in this particular realm of “nite entertainment” on the web! Due to the reasoning behind which Bitcoin was shut down, it was important to highlight a particular arena in which could be affected by the downfall of that banking system.
Now, take this position with any brand in any industry. How does it relate? Research your affiliates and competitors. What makes them different from your brand? What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? Where is your opportunity? Where is your threats amongst them? Basically, what is your SWOT analysis consisting of? Do you feel secure in affiliating your hardworking brand name with the name of your affiliates in co-signing them? Do you feel that you have an upper hand on competition? How can they come and seize your market share? Be sure to record your findings and prepare for action!
In setting up feed readers and monitoring plans, be sure to include products, services, news, and other related terms of importance to your brand, your affiliate brands and even the competition. Be sure to monitor your reputation and continuously create a good impression amongst consumers of all three brand groups. Combat negative reactions diplomatically and in public using facts, sympathy and apologies if needed.
Finally, know your competition and affiliates better than you know your own brand. Learn about their latest features and implement an improved version of that almost immediately. Hail affiliate progressions and successes. Show your consumer base why you trust their judgements and in being partners for success. Never, however, defend an affiliate in public, because there may be a lot you are not aware of. Don’t let that backfire in your face and in polluting the integrity of your brand. Defending a shady action, even innocently, will make it appear as if you are “in cahoots” with the scam. Don’t let it be your downfall! And, you will be okay!