Do you Trust the Company you have Hired?

One of the greatest things about the Internet must be the availability of so much information for free. However, it’s also a public forum where anyone can publish so-called resources without a system of peer review. If you’re basing your business decisions on information gathered from the Internet, you need to make sure the sources are valid and reliable.
Wikipedia is a prime example of user-generated content that isn’t always reliable. However, it has a system of citation or reference that identifies the source so that users can follow the trail of information. In Wikipedia, citations are contained in footnotes (links at the bottom of the page), although they also sometimes appear in the main article of the body.

Another free information source for business users is, a companies database that collects and aggregates publicly available information for businesses across the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. For example, users can download company accounts via Duedil and view data from UK Companies House going back 20 years.
Like Wikipedia, Duedil is transparent regarding its data sources. According to their website, they’ve digitised and listed millions of public records and published them online. While accessing the information is free of charge, their sources include free, open and paid sources that range from the press, legal, health and safety to social, financial and independent research.
Why would they do this? For the same reason Wikipedia provides information without charging a fee: transparency builds trust between businesspeople. Trust is essential for everything from employment contracts to commercial transactions, and plays a role at every level of the business. It’s also important to remember that trust is bi-lateral, so one trusts, the other is trusted, and vice versa.
Journalists know that in order to get the full story it’s often necessary to go straight to the source. In business terms, it’s a way of knowing exactly who you’re dealing with. For example, it isn’t wise to sign a big new contract with a supplier who has health and safety violations. Taking the necessary time to find out if there are any pending violations (or to do your due diligence) is necessary to protect your business.
Despite the amount of hack information on the Internet, there are authority sources that can be incredibly useful as well. Google has long favored information from official sources in the search engine results pages, providing these websites with favorable rankings. Site URLs ending in .edu, .gov and .org are good sources of political, but be wary of things like political bias and commercial agendas.
The Internet, and particularly social media, can be overwhelming. Everyone has a voice, and not every voice is an authority. Often the most reliable sources are those that say how and why they’re publishing specific information, and unfortunately, many sources are more reliable if their primary goal is not for profit. Publishers that are easily identifiable tend to be more trustworthy, but it’s also important to remember that authors have a variety of innocent reasons for wanting to conceal their identities. When you’re collecting business information, tread carefully and do you due diligence.

Image Courtesy:   mikebaird

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