Auto insurance quotes and the internet
If you listen to the commentators, they all sing the same song. We've now entered the internet age. This is supposed to convince us something new and wonderful has happened. It's such a complete break with the past it heralds the beginning of a new information age in which, somehow, we can all get ahead and do things never possible before. This is, of course, pure rubbish. The only difference between the digital age and the hard-copy age that went before it is the ease of access. Having a PC or some other online device gives you access to a vast library with a search engine to help you find the pages you need more easily. But, when you have the right page on the screen in front of you, it's the same words you could have found in a book or some other written material. All that's changed is the way the words are presented to you.
So, if you go back in time, printed words have always been used to manipulate people. They sell ideas to you. This means real power lies in the power to control access the means of publication. If a group can control what gets printed and distributed, the words can always tell the same story. But if the means of publication is open to other voices, this can give a completely different view of the world. This is why reputations can be made or unmade depending on who has the power to publish.
The problem for modern companies is anyone today can start up a blog or website. Many internet services are free to use. Similarly, the networking sites like Facebook allow people to write their opinions and describe their experiences. In the past, we would never get to hear Anne from Denver bought a steam cleaner that sprayed boiling water over her hands. Now she can write it and thousands of people can tweet it. It makes it very difficult for manufacturers and service providers to protect their reputations. This explains, in part, why insurance companies very rarely allow interaction on their sites. Since they cannot control what sometimes angry customers may say, they try to deny them a voice. Except there are now some very high profile sites on which people can complain about bad products and services. This movement is not yet sufficient to damage the vast insurance industry, but individual companies are finding it more difficult to prevent their reputations from slowly washing away.
This makes the recent announcement of a new online forum all the more encouraging. The intention is to allow people from both sides of the insurance relationship a chance to ask questions and have their say. Instead of a blank screen on which insurers give you the news they think you should hear, you can now ask about how to get more affordable car insurance rates, what to do if a claims adjuster low-balls the fair market value offer, and so on. This does not mean everyone on the forum will be an "innocent" consumer. There will inevitably be anonymous industry experts giving balancing views and opinions. But this is a hopeful sign of change. You may even get cheap car insurance quotes because of pressure through forums like this.