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Tell the Truth Up-Front
Bad News Is Worse in the Check-Out Aisle!

Finally, it is important to emphasize that, ultimately, no one site can hope to be all things to all people, no matter how many audiences developers believe can be realistically served. Companies that fear informing their visitors of the site's limitations fail to realize that abrupt discovery of the "truth" is infinitely more annoying once a user has invested ten (or more) minutes of time. Here are a few examples of "truths" that we feel should be self- evident on the homepage:

  • Nations or states to which one cannot ship your product (such as wine).

  • Products you offer that are not available online.

  • Products and services that are not available.

  • Areas of the nation/world that aren't yet covered by the service in question.

Being honest communicates integrity. Moreover, it's a simple matter to provide a mechanism that will inform prospective customers when the desired products and services will become available. As opposed to duplicity, this strategy will quite possibly foster future relationships with customers—preferable, by any standard, to severing a fragile trust with half-truths and apparent dead-ends.

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