On 25th August last year, bikebiz.co.uk carried a story about a naming and shaming website that companies could search for late payers. Solpre.com has now been suspended due to technical problems but a UK web agency has created a much cleverer tool that creates a bad smell when anybody types an offending non-payers name into a search engine...

Unpaidinvoices.com. It does what it says on the tin.

Bluewave has launched www.unpaidinvoices.com. Via a creation tool users type in the details of any company which has a woefully late unpaid invoice owed to them and this creates a link to an unpaid invoices part of the users own website which, in theory, pops up high in search engine results.

So, says Bluewave, when an internet user searches for the legitimate website of, for example, Fred Brown International (a ficticious company used for illstrative purposes only), they will also be shown details of sites displaying the bad debts of Fred Brown International has around the world.

The theory is that Fred Brown International will be extremely keen to stop this from happening, and will pay the outstanding invoice(s) to have their details removed from the creditors website, says Bluewave.

However, to prevent misuse of the system (oh, what fun for a competitor to start a bad-paying rumour about a rival) unpaidinvoices.com stores the name and e-mail address of each creation tool user and will keep a record of their acceptance of the sites terms and conditions.

In order to minimize fraudulent use of the Creation Tool, the IP [internet protocol] address of the user is also logged, says Bluewave.

The agency recommends is that all outputted HTML invoices are placed in a separate invoices directory, and are then individually registered with search engines. This means that the unpaid invoices can be found directly by search engines, but that website will not be able to access unpaid invoice details directly via the complainents homepage.

The bikebiz.co.uk view is that this is all clever stuff but is unlikely to work because it would need a groundswell of unsatisfied creditors for the results to appear en masse in search engine results. And how high would the resukts really go? The most useful resouce would be an industry-specific late payers resource.

But in the bike trade surely that would include far too many companies to be of much practical use!

However, a blacklist of the serial late-payers and defaulters and phoenix specialists would be an extemely useful document to peruse.

But is this a cartel? Does this restrict free trade? Or would those suppliers and IBDs who abhor the shady business practices of some of their contemporaries welcome the setting up of a blacklist?

For instance, how do you draw the line between a shop or supplier which has traditionally been a good payer but has suddenly become a bad one because of the knock-on affects of foot-and-mouth disease? Every blacklist has its grey areas…

The bulletin board awaits your views.

RELATED ARTICLE (about www.solpre.com)


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