The Nameless Faceless Merchant

“Please”, she said, “I don’t want my home address on my website. My husband is in law enforcement, and I don’t want people to be able to locate us.” I suggested she have a Post Office Box. “No”, that was an extra expense, she didn’t want that. Just a store, with a shopping cart.

“No name on my site” another client said. Competing with large faceless corporations, her only advantage was being personal, and she did not want her name public.

Many of our clients buy into the myth that Private Domain registration is a good thing.

In this highly competitive market, all of these are fatal. Consider:

If you are a small company, people want to know who is behind it. You can rely on your reputation like Dell and Wal-Mart. You have to give them some idea of who you are. Your name is essential. Your reputation is more about YOU than about your company name. Someone needs to be able to Google you and learn enough about you to know if they trust you, or at least read a bit to see if they think you are someone they might want to do business with. This is especially important when competing with large and impersonal corporations – being someone approachable is your only advantage.

Paranoia about your name being on the web is not a valid reason to keep it off your website. It is already out there. Not using it on your website won’t make one bit of difference to anything except your ability to sell. If you are going to have a business, this is the cost of doing business. Because frankly, a website without a name has only the minutest chance of every serving the purpose of helping you earn.

You MUST have a mailing address. Even a post office box. If a customer has no place where they can serve papers in the event of a dispute, then they won’t buy!

Private Domain registration has been used by every scammer in the world. If you use it, you look like one of them. Besides, it doesn’t really protect you, does your business more harm than good, and can potentially cause some very serious problems.

If there are three merchants on the street, two whose faces you can see, and a third who wears a mask, who will you buy from?

Web business requires the maximum degree of possible transparency. You don’t have to post pictures of yoru kids or give your home address. But you have to have a name, and a mailing address, and as much validation of those as you can get. Without them, you are wasting your time and money.

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