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Nima

"Trusted Store" requirements conversation

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We're close to improving the design of the blog. One of the pages that I'm improving is the new "Trusted Stores" page. 

 

Right now the "Trusted Stores" pay us a monthly fee and if there is any issues with an order I try to mediate but honestly its really limited to active forum members. 

 

How can we improve the concept of a Hookah.org's "Trusted Store" that it truly means they are a good store. Is the offer to mediate between the customer and the vendor, a good thing? or people won't care much about it? 

 

Should we have requirement before a store can become a Trusted Store with us? What requirements?

 

I can't not charge the stores money because we have bills to pay but does the fact that the stores have to pay make the list not trustworthy? For example everyone that has a "Symantec" trust logo on their site, they are paying for it so I figured this is the same. 

 

What are your thoughts generally about this topic?

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We shouldn't need to mediate but when it is necessary it is nice to see.

Honestly I think they should be vetted by at least two or three people. That easy we can see if they are trust worthy.

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I don't think that "Mediation" should be use as a selling point but should be treated as a "second thought" service. Using "Mediation" tells consumers that companies have enough issues with customer service that we have to interferer in the process to get the customer what they ordered. That's not a good thing. 

 

There's a lot to say with a titled "Trusted Stores" instead of using a more common terminology like "Sponsors" which right away tells you they are paying members. When I see "Trusted Stores" tells me that these are vendors a lot of people on the forum have ordered from and had a great experience. Before becoming a trusted store, how about having one of us, you or Paul order from them without telling them that we are from hookah.org and rate their service? That way they will already have a thread started.... now that I'm reading it, it might not make as much sense. 

 

Is it a requirement for trusted stores to "sponsor" a contest or is that something optional for them to participate? 

 

That's all I can think of right now about the "Trusted Store" page. 

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I don't think that "Mediation" should be use as a selling point but should be treated as a "second thought" service. Using "Mediation" tells consumers that companies have enough issues with customer service that we have to interferer in the process to get the customer what they ordered. That's not a good thing. 

 

There's a lot to say with a titled "Trusted Stores" instead of using a more common terminology like "Sponsors" which right away tells you they are paying members. When I see "Trusted Stores" tells me that these are vendors a lot of people on the forum have ordered from and had a great experience. Before becoming a trusted store, how about having one of us, you or Paul order from them without telling them that we are from hookah.org and rate their service? That way they will already have a thread started.... now that I'm reading it, it might not make as much sense. 

 

Is it a requirement for trusted stores to "sponsor" a contest or is that something optional for them to participate? 

 

That's all I can think of right now about the "Trusted Store" page. 

 

Sponsoring a giveaway is not required for a Trusted Store. Websites have to be a "Trusted Store" before they can sponsor a giveaway though (except for small brands). 

 

I do have Paul place a test order with all new Trusted Stores and publish an article. I can do something like this: I'll give $100 of my own money to four members ($25 each). They each place an order for themselves and post their reviews on our forum. So for every new Trusted Store there will be at least 4 reviews right away

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One problem I see with the trusted vendor system is that most of the actual trust worthy vendors aren't on it because they simply don't know about it or might not want to pay.

 

For example, 5 star hookah is easily the best vendor out there, they have everything at good prices and exceptional customer service. But they will never get one ounce of attention here because they will likely not pay for it, they don't even need to pay for advertising(or a "trusted store" listing, same thing) because they are so good that word of mouth carries them along.

 

I like the idea of them having to be more heavily vetted before being added though. If I was you Nima, I would get rid of the name trusted store and just start calling it advertising. If the idea is to bring in money to pay for the site, then you would do better by that anyway.

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Sponsoring a giveaway is not required for a Trusted Store. Websites have to be a "Trusted Store" before they can sponsor a giveaway though (except for small brands). 

 

I do have Paul place a test order with all new Trusted Stores and publish an article. I can do something like this: I'll give $100 of my own money to four members ($25 each). They each place an order for themselves and post their reviews on our forum. So for every new Trusted Store there will be at least 4 reviews right away

 

I like that idea, but - that can get very expensive very quickly. How about if we have already ordered from them we can just write a little review about them and our experience? Although it seems most of us always order from the same company all the time.... mmmmmm...

 

Jen brings up a great point about companies like 5 Star Hookah. How about maybe creating different tiers of the "Trusted Vendor" that will benefit companies like 5 Star that are already big enough without the need to advertise? Maybe one tier can be exposure on the site and maybe another tier exposure on all our social media and then the mother load with exposure on all media AND the video from Paul and reviews from some of us? I don't know, I'm just throwing ideas out there right now to see what sticks. 

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If there were to be anything, I like the idea of having a rating system, or at least link to a forum post with reviews of the vendor.

 

That being said, by saying we "trust" them should not necessarily imply judgment or ratings.  That should imply that we trust them as a seller.  A lower-rated seller is going to pull out if ratings are published and they are poor.  There's absolutely no reason for them to maintain a relationship with our site if we rate a vendor with 1 out of 5 stars, unless they want to work with us to improve that rating (and, realistically, most vendors wouldn't care to do that, as long as they're selling products and paying the bills).

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I should add that maybe a "vendor guide" might be a better overall idea, where we can list any vendor we know (i.e. 5Star), but wouldn't have them marked as "trusted."

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There's a lot to say with a titled "Trusted Stores" instead of using a more common terminology like "Sponsors" which right away tells you they are paying members. When I see "Trusted Stores" tells me that these are vendors a lot of people on the forum have ordered from and had a great experience.

And we just had post on the forum where rxio was talking about that. Clearly the trusted title needs to be dropped. Sponsored would sound lot better. 

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I do agree that the title should be modified. Trusted Stores might be misleading as it is right now.

 

I do like a "Vendor Guide" section on our site where we can review and rate all the vendors not just the paying ones. Paying vendors will get their coupon codes, and banners displayed around the site and they get to use our forum under their official name. 

 

I also agree that we need to drop paying vendors if they dont have good customer service (one comes to mind as im sure you guys know too but please dont mention any names for now)

 

What are some suggestions for the title of the page where we list our paying vendors? "Hookah.org's Preferred Vendors"? 

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I actually like having a "Trusted Vendors" tab however, I just wished it contained what it said lol.
I don't mind that there is a list of online vendors (whatever the category for them is.)
Just probably change that "trusted" title to something less.. enticing.

I would recommend changing the title to something more along the lines of "Popular Vendors" or "Sponsoring/sponsored Vendors etc".

It would be nice to have the list constantly updated in terms of usage and popularity as well as review. That way, forum members and other information seekers know how the businesses are working NOW, versus how they were working say, a few years ago.

If possible, I wish for admins or whomever has the power, to reevaluate the list of vendors that are listed on this website. I don't ever want it to look like you guys are the bad person(s) here, setting up new hookah fanatics and new online shoppers for a never-ending battle with a customer service rep. There ARE good vendors out there, and I don't want for everyone to only see the BAD, and let that deter them from further online hookah endeavors.

 

Seeing "trusted" implies that a good percentage of people have had positive interactions and transactions with said company, with little to minimal error in the process. It's conflicting to see a website "trusted" on this very forum, and unfortunately bad reviews regarding the same vendor elsewhere.

Lastly, to those who know of topnotch, underrated, and exceptional online hookah/accessories vendors, PLEASE DO SHARE with the rest of the community here. You'll be doing them a favor, as well as the rest of us. It may even lead to replacement "Trusted Vendors" who are actually trustworthy, who knows.

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I actually like having a "Trusted Vendors" tab however, I just wished it contained what it said lol.

I don't mind that there is a list of online vendors (whatever the category for them is.)

Just probably change that "trusted" title to something less.. enticing.

I would recommend changing the title to something more along the lines of "Popular Vendors" or "Sponsoring/sponsored Vendors etc".

It would be nice to have the list constantly updated in terms of usage and popularity as well as review. That way, forum members and other information seekers know how the businesses are working NOW, versus how they were working say, a few years ago.

If possible, I wish for admins or whomever has the power, to reevaluate the list of vendors that are listed on this website. I don't ever want it to look like you guys are the bad person(s) here, setting up new hookah fanatics and new online shoppers for a never-ending battle with a customer service rep. There ARE good vendors out there, and I don't want for everyone to only see the BAD, and let that deter them from further online hookah endeavors.

 

Seeing "trusted" implies that a good percentage of people have had positive interactions and transactions with said company, with little to minimal error in the process. It's conflicting to see a website "trusted" on this very forum, and unfortunately bad reviews regarding the same vendor elsewhere.

Lastly, to those who know of topnotch, underrated, and exceptional online hookah/accessories vendors, PLEASE DO SHARE with the rest of the community here. You'll be doing them a favor, as well as the rest of us. It may even lead to replacement "Trusted Vendors" who are actually trustworthy, who knows.

 

Thanks. Yes, we are going to change the name - most likely to something like "Preferred Vendors". That being said I do also want to make the list fully Trustworthy.

 

I think we'll have to start by dropping the stores that have had bad reviews on our site without attending to them. The next step is to have a set of requirements before we allow a store to become a "Preferred Store" with us. 

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I think the problems are as follows:

 

1. A currently "trusted" vendor is actually more of a "sponsored" vendor.  They give us $ to post their coupon code and advertise them.

2. The name "Trusted" implies we "trust" them.  There has been no established trust.

3. Several vendors that users here "trust" aren't listed.

 

I think the solution would be to recategorize what is listed as a "trusted" vendor as a "sponsored" vendor.  "Trusted" vendors could be vetted out by some sort of review process, either by select admins/users here, or by an overall vote on the vendor itself.  I wouldn't want to leave it open-ended like shisha reviews are, as a vendor has more to gain/lose by having a "trusted" title, and could promote spamming very quickly if any logged-in user could just spam a "I trust this vendor" button with a bunch of spam accounts.

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OH!  I should also add though, the term "sponsored" does have the connotation of an advertisement, but it's the only thing I could think of at the moment.  This might be problematic, as it might make people actually stray away from them, much like people don't often click the "sponsored" links on Google.

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OH!  I should also add though, the term "sponsored" does have the connotation of an advertisement, but it's the only thing I could think of at the moment.  This might be problematic, as it might make people actually stray away from them, much like people don't often click the "sponsored" links on Google.

 

What about "Prefered" 

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I think "preferred" goes back to "trusted."  If we want to revoke those who we don't trust any longer, then, okay, "preferred" could work.  "Approved" could be decent as well.

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I think "preferred" goes back to "trusted."  If we want to revoke those who we don't trust any longer, then, okay, "preferred" could work.  "Approved" could be decent as well.

 

yes, thats the idea. We'll revoke the ones that don't hold up to a certain standard of customer srevice

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