Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Forum Moderators: phranque

Message Too Old, No Replies

Faking your size

how many of you pretend to be a bigger company than you are

1:06 pm on Jun 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:July 18, 2002
votes: 36

I have a half dozen sites now, all run by me, myself and I, but I usually pretend to outsiders that the staff running these sites are much larger. Customer Service staffs, content teams and all sorts of other made up help (complete with names) so that the people interacting with me will feel more comfortable about doing business with me. I just feel like if they found out it was a one woman operation, they would think less of the sites.

How many others do this, or am I just a walking mental case?

1:42 am on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 21, 2004
votes: 0

When I was searching for a web host I spent nearly a month before settling on one.

Of that month, I probably spend 90% of the time searching "webhostname sucks" and reading 20-page threads about horror stories people had with each web host. The other 10% was spent reading the copy, features, etc. on their sites.

When I had narrowed my search down to two companies, I spent two days trying to gauge what I was actually dealing with. Were these 1-man operations?

Contrary to what these hosts think, when they go out and pretend to be customers, writing unsolicited reviews on host review forums and saying things like, "Dave is a great guy, he got me set up within an hour," that is a negative in my book.

It's almost as bad when it's a legitimate review, and all the people can't stop raving about "Dave" or "Bill." I know most of these hosts aren't huge corporations, but I don't want to know that. I want to hear about their departments and staffs and other fuzzy things.

When it got down to it, I actually went with the second best host I could find. Fewer features, higher price than the other. But they had a "support department" rather than "Bill who solved our problem in 30 minutes" and they didn't have their own counter-strike game server. Anything that creates the illusion of professionalism will win my business.

Of course I'm on my 8th host now, so what do I know?

4:05 am on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

joined:Dec 29, 2003
votes: 0

> If they need your expertise, why not be a phenomenal one-person show?

and if that person is sick, or on vacation? Who will take care of the, let's say, down site? Personally, I would NEVER host my site on a one-man-team webhost.

9:46 am on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Mar 14, 2003
votes: 0

I pushed this a little further even. I'm a one man web design company. On 'our' website we use 'we' all the time. The site's got a corporate/plenty of staff look and we often get sales/marketing people calling after visiting it wanting to talk to the purshasing manager or hr manager - "yes, speaking"

We have more than one email on our website: design, sales, support etc...

We've now incorporated my company (uk ltd) and will put a couple of our sites under this ltd company with in the about us section of the old sites - mysmall company is part of myltd company.

However, when customers ask I NEVER lie to them, because you can't really afford to do so - the truth always comes out.


10:46 am on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member

joined:May 30, 2003
votes: 0

I always allow my customers to assume that our website is a large company, when in reality it's just me. I never do anything to mislead them into thinking this, I just let them make the assumption. I get phone calls from people asking to speak to the customer service manager, marketing manager, purchasing manager etc.. :D

I think faking your company site on the web is very easy as long as your website looks trustworthy. We have a professional looking site (did I just say we? :D ) with our phone number prominently displayed at the top of the page).

But when I am pushed, I am always honest and say it's just me running the company from my home. More often than not, they are more than impressed with what I have achieved on my own.

10:55 am on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 27, 2005
votes: 0

I call myself the Managing Director of my company, because I manage my own company. Perhaps a bit pretentious, as I have no staff to manage, but it sounds pretty darn important. I thought about calling myself "President", but I thought that was too much. "CEO" was too short, didn't look fancy in my e-mail signature.

Faking staff is a bit too risky and weird, imho.

12:45 pm on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 7, 2003
votes: 0

I must say that I also believe that customers feel more at ease when dealing with an internet business if they think that the company is a larger size business. I have made many websites and all of them have a staff. {Not}. LOL

I'm not trying to fool anyone, but I think it does make a difference no matter how good of a product you sale. Even though I have been doing business for the last 5 years, it wasnt until 2 years ago before I started buying items on line.

I think people are feeling more at ease with buying over the internet now, but I still think it helps to show different departments. Even if you dont have but one department {You}.

1:24 pm on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 18, 2002
votes: 0

Why be a fake in anything you do?
3:29 pm on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 27, 2005
votes: 0

I agree with hannah and the majority of you guys. And I think also Freud would! I, unusually, am graduated in psychology - psychoanalisys -, and in fact the information about interacting with a GROUP is much more confortable to the individual than dealing with just one other single individual like himself.

The CORPORATE-SELF may be colder, than saying this site is just YOUR-self, but it is definatelly an invention that takes advantage of the frustrations associated with one-to-one relationships.

Well, at least these are my thesis - they didnt say anything about that in college!

And besides this unconscious feeling, there also the pratical reasons: 1) There will be always someone to direct the complains about anyone - maybe someone willing to make that staff member SUFFER for what he did wrong with you as a customer. Heres sadism, my friends. 2) The bigger a group is, the less expectable is that this company is a internet fraud.

By the way, I am building a portal wich will be held by a staff of all my ALTER-EGOS!


3:42 pm on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 12, 2003
votes: 4

Size does not matter, customer service does.

If you want to pretend to be a large corporation, just
provide lousy customer service :)

4:30 pm on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 8, 2004
votes: 0

A company with a staff of technicians working 24/7 and a regular staff for other divisions of the company is less likely a target for an attacker than Joe. You may be able to catch Joe off guard or put him out of business because he spends all his time fighting off your DoS attacks and no time working. Your not going to hinder a business that has a staff of technicians dealing with the problem. Better off going out and finding an easier target.

It's easy to bully one person, a little harder to take on a group.

4:59 pm on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Mar 31, 2005
votes: 0

if that person is sick, or on vacation? Who will take care of the, let's say, down site? Personally, I would NEVER host my site on a one-man-team webhost.

Sorry, I didn't know this discussion only applied to web hosting companies. I'm my own webmaster, and what I do is not hosting.

I do have a site with a one-man-show who's building his biz- he can't go on vacation until he can afford someone to sub for him. He won't be able to afford one without the other anyway.

Trust is the main issue for me, if it's a one man show.

5:12 pm on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)


WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 2, 2000
votes: 1

Nice title, hannamyluv... ;)

The great thing about the web is that your site can make the same (or better) impression as that of a large company.

Personally, I have no problem with avoiding the "I'm a one-man band" issue in your marketing efforts; some people will see that and go no farther.

Once things get serious, though, I'm not a big fan of lying about size. Hey, if things click, you'll be in bed with the client (that's a business figure of speech, for those of you with naughty minds ;)) and any past exaggerations will be quite evident.

Having said that, I once knew a marketing firm that faked the founder rather than the staff. The actual co-founders didn't have a lot of experience, so they named the firm Clive Whitfield & Associates (not the actual name). Clive (who, of course, didn't exist) was on the road a lot, and was never available to meet with clients. By all accounts, though, he was a legendary marketer with considerable client experience and many awards. His associates always spoke well of him, his keen insights, and broad knowledge.

When the firm had built a client base and was solidly established, Clive developed a sudden, terminal illness. Eventually, death notices were sent to the trade mags, noting that Clive had passed away, but that his two long-time associates were continuing the business. True story. :)

5:20 pm on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 13, 2005
votes: 0

I never fake anythingif I tried to fake it Id end up in a whole world of trouble.

I'm sure Id end up with a multiple-personality disorder and sitting around talking to myself..."Um, support staff, did you respond to Bill's question yet"..."yes, admin we did"...My friends already want to commit me for talking to my computer all the time.

Id also end up falling all over my feet when talking to customers about my "employees"...

Me: "I'll have Suzie get right on that for you."
Customer: "I thought his name was Tom"

LOL....best to be honest in all expects of life...

Except for the dreaded question, "how do I stack up against your other lovers"?
Correct answer..."Youre the best baby!"

5:41 pm on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 27, 2005
votes: 0

For those of you that prefer saying the truth, please remember this is the "Society of the spectacle", as Debord pointed. And people are educated to misjudge and underestimate what can be thought as legitimate for us. Its sad, but quite true, I think.
6:08 pm on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Administrator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 25, 2005
votes: 99

I use different email addresses for sales@ support@ billing@ etc [spin the hat and send an email] but mostly just so correspondence can be automatically sorted into the proper folder although I'm sure people get an impression there is more than one person behind the curtain.

Although I must admit to using an alias for something not related to my web site when I was still doing software engineering for 'the man' in the 9-5 world. Some rather complex tech support questions would arise that the support staff couldn't deal with from time to time so I answered them using an alias of "David". I learned a long time ago not to give customers the names of engineers [especially mine] or the ability to bypass the regular support team or they would and you never get any work done as the same people cling to you for everything for the rest of your cubicle hell existence.

When they called looking for David it was "I'm sorry, he's hearing impaired and can only respond by email" which isn't completely untrue as I have a nasty case of tinnitis and do prefer email over the phone :)

9:32 pm on June 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Mar 22, 2005
votes: 0

If you're being dishonest about your staff, what else are you willing to be dishonest about?

there's little or no room for total honesty in business. gerald ratner "told a joke" which was taken by the media and the public as "honesty".

his chain of jewellery stores went bust.

people now buy the same "cr*p" from other jewellers ........

how many products / services do you advertise on your site as being "below standard", "poor quality", "cr*p"?

This 46 message thread spans 2 pages: 46

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members