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File this under ethics.
“Google Certified! Microsoft Certified! WC3 Valid HTML! Wow! These guys must really know their stuff! Sign the contract!”
“Not so fast. Did you verify they weren’t lying?”
“What do you mean? They have the little logo right there on their website. See? It says “Microsoft Partner.”
“Did you click it?”
“It’s not a link.”
“It should be.”
“A link to what?”
“To the organization they claim to be certified by. That little Microsoft logo should take you to a page on Microsoft’s website that verifies what they claim is true.”
“But the little logo…they have a little logo!”
“Yes, they stole that from the Internet; probably from a Google image search. Look.
I can just download one of these and slap it up on my site. Heck, I could put one on your site! I can also call my car an airplane, but that won’t make it fly. Sorry buddy, but you’ve been duped.”
Let the buyer beware.
As a web developer, it is very easy to claim expertise…The way an unscrupulous auto mechanic might bamboozle a customer into unnecessary repair work. The common person doesn’t possess the knowledge needed to know if they’re being told the truth or not. In the web design and development industry this often happens with those little logos and banners you see plastered all over a design shop’s website.
As a consumer, the burden is on you to take your web design and development firm to task on their claims. Even if you’re afraid you don’t know what you’re looking at when you click the Google AdWords Certified badge on their footer.
What Should I look for?
- The badge or logo should be a link. (if it’s just an image with no link, that should be a major red flag).
- The link should go to the official website of the organization they claim to be certified or verified by. You should see the address bar change accordingly (not be redirected to just another page within their website).
- That page should tell you all you need to know about the company in question. Google and Microsoft will tell you that firm has passed the necessary certifications and is qualified to do the work. The WC3 valid HTML/CSS pages will tell you how many errors (in bright red text) if the code is not valid. You don’t need to know HTML or be a programmer to call people out on this.
Put your money where your mouth is.
After all this talk, we’d better.
Note: Because of the blog platform we use, our HTML on this page is actually NOT valid. So we don’t claim that here. The HTML on our main website IS valid, so we show the badge on those pages.
Go forth and make informed decisions.
We’re not claiming to be the best web design firm in the Universe (but we won’t argue if you feel that way), but we are proud of our certifications and achievements. Our team studies hard, has taken the (and passed) the tests, and spent hours upon hours perfecting our code. Firms who misrepresent those same certifications destroy the value of what we worked so hard to achieve (and they know who they are). But worst of all, it hurts the client who is trying to select a capable firm to build a great project and future relationship. So all you potential clients, get clickin!