Complaints of the Site's Content, Dynamics and Organization that Skews the Truth

Discussion and complaints about how a news story, reader comment, or forum posting skews the truth by being poorly arranged or presented, e.g. a news report that reads more like an advice blog.

Besides individual postings, the community itself can take on its own group think, which can be influenced by simply how the site is organized. This forum is for discussing the strengths and weaknesses of this franchise social network site and how to make it better.

Editors Sometimes Write Editorials

There are probably few who see the volume of daily franchise news that I do. I am aware that there are readers who expect me to share things that in my position I am privileged to see. As an editor, reporter and member of the community, I struggle to find the right balance of just reporting the news in a news article (left-hand of the front page) and writing an advice / op-ed blog (right-hand side). I write comments and post forum remarks just like every one else.

Let me know if you think my blogs, comments under the blogs or debates in forums are getting in the way of objectivity of reporting news stories.

on April 16th, 2008

Suggestions on Setting Up an Online Hui Reputation System

Is the world ready for reputational management of franchise concepts and leaders?

We have the capability to have an online hui, an eBay or Amazon style reputational management system set up in full for all franchise systems and for this site's members.

The easiest next step is to have members ranking each other. Although welcome to post comments under blogs and post in our forums, anonymous guests will naturally be given a zero star reputation.

What do you think, gang? Any suggestions on how to structure an effective reputational management system?

We could:

  1. use our current star ranking to  evaluate member contributors (available at the switch of a button right now)
  2. to have contributors evaluated by a summary of all of their articles that readers voted on
  3. set up a reputational mechanism that has the editor (me) rank, along with a panel of appointed judges having a heavier weight than the population as a whole

What say ye? A straight popular vote or a weighted system of judges and total population to vote on reputation?

on April 16th, 2008

What kind of popularity contest do you want?

How can people vote on the reputation of franchise systems and their leadership without having a frame of reference or firsthand knowledge? I don't see the value.

Let's see Quizno's will get a negative vote for franchise system and leadership and no franchise system or leadership will be a clear winner. It would be completely subjective and worthless.

Heck, the AAFD has worked on this subject for years and their solution is less than perfect.

The Truth Shall Set You Free!

TIF

Posted by Truth in Franchising on April 16th, 2008

Reputation for Fairness

TIF writes: "Heck, the AAFD has worked on this subject for years and their solution is less than perfect."

I would go farther than TIF.  The AAFD solution which relies upon their being a marketplace for reputation simply has not worked - franchisees are not interested in evaluating franchisor's reputations.  Prospective franchisees just want to believe the dream; existing franchisees do not take advantage of collective action.

There is only one group of people who would benefit from a market for franchisor reputation: existing franchisors who have to compete for new franchisees against highly dubious systems.

High quality franchise systems ought to be pushing to the sidelines low quality offerings - it is in their interest to attract a wide pool of qualified applicants.

Currently, the IFA refuses to act as a trade association and the AAFD, which could act as a trade association, doesn't attract sufficient franchisor interest.

The result is that crappy franchise systems continue to plague the marketplace -the franchisee consumers are not sophisticated enough to tell McDonalds from McPoo.

But the big losers are the good quality franchise systems who lose financially qualified and good people to the purveyors of McPoo. 

Michael Webster PhD LLBFranchise News

Posted by michael webster on April 16th, 2008

Popular Ranking Is Important

"no franchise system or leadership will be a clear winner" - TIF

In a ranking system, someone will rank higher and someone will rank lower. How many here want to guess who will rank at the bottom? Any guesses on who some winners might be? 

There are some systems that have an awful lot of screaming and problems for being so little. On this site, we know who they are. And we have some ideas of the good guys.

If anyone out there is interested in such information, this is the place.

My first suggestion: Only allow a computer a single vote.

on April 16th, 2008

Re: Popular Ranking Is Important

How so and based on what criteria? 

The Truth Shall Set You Free!

TIF

Posted by Truth in Franchising on April 16th, 2008

Market Perceptions

There is room for a lot of rankings.

1. Mr. Blue MauMau can rank franchisors based on criteria that he thinks is important. The Entrepreneur list would have worked if Entrepreneur were more transparent about their listing, and improved through time based on the feedback they received.

2. Rankings can be made by an elite group of analysts, who supposedly know more than the rest of us. I hope I can read those rankings too.

3. But there is also a place for franchise amateurs like many of us here to rank franchise systems. The list would be a popular ranking by the market. These ratings could be based on set criteria that the editor establishes and the readers' perceptions of the franchise based on those criteria. Comments can be made by readers to describe why they ranked the franchise the way they did.

I'm guessing that if franchisors perceive their buyers are being influenced and guided by comments here, that franchise companies will begin to identify and improve the places they are perceived as weak.

It will be the market dictating to the supplier. If the market misperceives the supplier a certain way, the supplier will still react.

on April 16th, 2008

Re: Market Perceptions

Even if the Entrepreneur list was transparent it would still be crap. 

Frankman says - "But there is also a place for franchise amateurs like many of us here to rank franchise systems. The list would be a popular ranking by the market. These ratings could be based on set criteria that the editor establishes and the readers' perceptions of the franchise based on those criteria. Comments can be made by readers to describe why they ranked the franchise the way they did."

I ask - Okay Mr. Frankman what pray tell would you propose the editor establish as criterion? And who cares what some idiot might think about franchise or several franchises.

The Truth Shall Set You Free!

TIF

Posted by Truth in Franchising on April 16th, 2008

Who Cares? Buyers and Eventually Franchisors

"And who cares what some idiot might think about franchise or several franchises." - TIF

We can ask that of any major purchase. Who cares what some idiot buyer might think about the quality and effectiveness of the new Sanyo PLV-Z2000 projector?

Answer: Other idiot buyers and the idiot seller who wants to sell those idiot boxes, that's who. After all, who really cares about what the CEO or his paid experts think of their own product? We know what that will be.

If you make the franchise criteria technical enough, the guy judging the franchise system because of the quality of the doughnut he eats there at lunch will feel out of his league to judge - just as if I asked if the perception of brightness in the Sanyo PLV-Z2000 was less or greater than 1000 lumens, you would go on to other sites that took less technical skill.

on April 16th, 2008

Re: Who Cares? Buyers and Eventually Franchisors

Foolishness Bob what you are saying is just plain foolish! 

It is wholly unhelpful to have opinions absent facts as a qualitative measure of a franchise concept and its leadership.

In fact this kind of ranking gives people bad information, a false sense that they are performing actual due diligence and promotes confirmation biased thinking.

There is no subsitute for individual franchise concept evaluation and due diligence.

The Truth Shall Set You Free!

TIF

Posted by Truth in Franchising on April 17th, 2008

A online hui?

With the purpose of people interested in getting into franchising and making sure they get with a good franchisor? Plus if they are having problems posting their problems. With the result zees could ask for advice to grow their business. To provide advice from people who are already successful. Goal from all this is zees and zors will or could talk about problems and fix them. End result a win win situation?

on April 16th, 2008

For Love of Franchising

"it's surprising, Don, how many people on this site are anti franchising -- that all franchisors are scoundrels." - John Hayes

Of the thousands who have registered on Blue MauMau's social network site and the scores who frequently post, I can think of a couple contributors who possibly consider ALL franchisors to be scoundrels. I quite agree that such individuals are anti-franchising. In a perfect world, there probably would be none. However, such a rare writer should not be confused with the many experts, franchisees, attorneys, leaders or other members that write here about a specific franchise's problems.

There are individuals who try to argue that because someone is saying unpleasant things about a specific franchisor and its leadership, that those individuals must be "anti-franchising". That argument doesn't hold.

Many of the active posters here have devoted a significant chunk of their lives to franchising. They are so passionate about the subject that they write about it during basketball, lunch hour, insomnia, back surgery, boring conference calls or whenever they can. I tell them to get a life. They reply that they want to talk about franchising. To which I say, "so do I."

on April 29th, 2008

Quiznos Franchise Ads on the Website?

Dear Sir's,

I have been an avid Blue MauMau reader for quite some time now.As a former Mail Boxes Etc. Franchisee your site has even discussed our plight with our Franchiser.

My question to you is this...

Since Blue MauMau has been reporting on all the "MASSIVE PROBLEMS" Quiznos franchisee's are having with the Quiznos Franchise System...how in the world does Blue MauMau allow them to place ads on the Blue MauMau Web site inviting the public to buy into this TROUBLED FRANCHISE???? If Blue MauMau allows this then you might want to consider the amount of CREDIBILITY your Web site is going to LOSE.

It's like talking out of both sides of your mouth.

Thank You
Lance

on August 20th, 2008

Blue MauMau Welcomes All

I think there is a misunderstanding on Blue MauMau's purpose. Although there are a number of franchisee advocates posting on this site, this is not a consumer advocacy site. It is a site about knowing where to invest in franchises.

In an industry where it has been extremely difficult to uncover information beyond the myth, obfuscation, and message control, we started a model using new social media technology to create a citizen trade journal that could break through all that. This is a model in which insiders on all sides can give franchise owners investment information.

Overworked mainstream business reporters had a difficult time understanding and tapping into the inside issues of franchise systems. Sadly, those news articles that investors relied on to make choices often read like press releases. Mainstream business reporters are increasingly relying on this vertical trade journal to easily and quickly get the scoop (at the touch of a mouse) and to better explain its significance.

In our beginning days, as franchisors used traditional venues that typically gave them strong control of their message, franchisors were sometimes uncomfortable participating here. That was not to say that we discouraged franchisors from contributing their perspectives on the news. We went out of our way to contact them on just about every news piece that we did. It's just that the industry was not used to such openness.

The times are changing.

It would be against the mission and values of Blue MauMau to block content or ad messages on investment opportunities. We believe that the marketplace of diverse messages and ideas is the best source to determine the truth and the investment worthiness of a franchise owner's dollar.

We know that franchise owners and advocates like to participate here but we also strongly encourage franchisors to participate in this news network in whatever way they feel comfortable. Blue MauMau has many mouths to talk out of.

on August 20th, 2008

Interactive Ads and Pre Purchase Investigation

The ads for any franchise system provide a glimpse into their marketing materials, which then may later be compared against the representations made in the agreement and FDD.

Just as no government agency recommends any franchise system by requiring the system to disclose certain information, BMM is not recommending any franchise system by running its promotional material.

Michael Webster PhD LLBFranchise News

Posted by michael webster on August 20th, 2008

Readers: How Is the Level of Our Content?

How is the level of our articles and content? Is it too much "inside baseball" jargon such as the words franchisee, franchisor, summary judgment, or refranchising. Let us know where we can improve.

I ask this question because of something I read recently in which a franchise registrar, a state official that looks at compliance to franchisor registration rules, told the applying attorney to take out the term franchisee. That may seem silly to some of our attorneys but it reminds me of another discussion I had with a small business reporter of a national business journal. I used the term franchisee in conversation and he needed clarification of what a franchisee and a franchisor was. And if he need explanation, how many other small business investigators would need clarity?

The term "franchisee", a franchise owner, and franchisor, the firm that licenses franchises, is often used in articles by our reporters and members and in reader comments in Blue MauMau without explanation.

Our journal needs to apply to a wide business audience - from attorneys, to financiers, to small business owners to those considering becoming a small business owner. Is the level of our language appropriate -- that is to say not too difficult nor overly simplistic? Or do we need to provide more explanations of industry and legal jargon?

Mr. Blue MauMau
Editor

on January 20th, 2009

Don, by all means dumb franchising down some more

It is just what we need!

Posted by Guest on January 20th, 2009

Stupidity is what gets zees in trouble in the first place

Don writes: Is the level of our language appropriate -- that is to say not too difficult nor overly simplistic? Or do we need to provide more explanations of industry and legal jargon?

That is what Franchipedia entries are for. If you dumb down to the lowest common denominator, you will lose the majority of your current readership.

If you want stupidity, there are plenty of other Internet sites.

Paul SteinbergFranchisee Attorney, New York City, Ph: 212-529-5400

on January 20th, 2009

I have to believe there has to be some good zors out there

After studying franchising for a year  I have read things good zors do.

1.  They insist their zee's do their due diligence.  (They respect that people have worked hard for their money.) 

2,  They insist their zee's work in the franchise for six months.  I have heard of a zor that insist their zee's work in the franchise for one year.

3.  They are there for their zee's.  I am not talking about physically there talking all day long.  They are there giving them sound business advice and are helping them do things right. 

4.  They want their zee's to succeed.  They work with the one's they have and direct them  when needed. 

5.  They go over the important things in the franchise agreement. They make sure they understand everything before signing on the dotted line.

6.  The good zor wants to make it a win win win business deal.  The zor wins, the zee wins and the customer wins too.

7.  They are not into selling franchises as much as seeing their zee's reach success.  They know if their zee's are successful it will be easier to sell franchises.

8.  They know if they treat their zee's right they will gain their loyality.  The zee's would trust them and happy zee's are more productive.

9.  Money may not come in as fast but it would be steady.  Sean Kelly said the zor he worked for sold her franchise for a good amount of money. 

I wish content zees would post here and tell people what makes their zor exceptional.  Add to the list.  I would like to hear from good zors too.  What do they do that makes them good that people would want to do business with them? 

on March 2nd, 2009

Zees tell us what you want

As a potential franchisor, I read this board regularly to see what zees need from a zor. Apart from the obvious requirements, of a proven system, training & ongoing training, fairness, accountability of marketing funds, I am always keen to educate myself further. So I too would like to see some content zees posting here. We are not all bad and with your feedback hopefully we can make this a better industry.

Posted by Guest on March 2nd, 2009

I believe zees want their zors

to be honest, open and ethical with them.  Nothing is worst than to sign an agreement then find out a few months down the road all their advertising, newspaper articles were out and out lies.  Nothing is worst than feeling like you've been tricked or scammed.  Getting fleeced of all your money hurts.

It is like in any relationship there needs to be respect and trust on both sides.  Once the trust is gone how can you possibly build a successful franchise?   A relationship that is one sided in love and business is doomed to fail.    

on March 2nd, 2009

Re: I believe zees want their zors

There is a system out there for franchisors to be transparent - when are they going to wake up and allow that to happen

Posted by Guest on March 2nd, 2009

Guest tell us about the system for zors to be transparent

If there is transparency in any system, I am sure it would of stopped things like what happened in New Zealand.

on March 3rd, 2009

Transparency in Sales of Franchises

Apparently, FranData, who manages the SBA franchise registry for the SBA, has a somewhat new report form that would disclose unit performance statistics in an orderly manner to the Franchisors if they wanted to use it. Because franchisors don't have to disclose unit performance statistics of their systems, they can obscure the profitability and the failure rate of the individual units in the sales process.

But, All franchisors KNOW the profitability status of their franchised units, etc.. because, of course, of the royalties paid and often they are in the business bank accounts and under contract terms, as Richard Solomon says, the franchise agreement requires that the franchisee provide their business income tax statement to the franchisor.

Under the provision of the franchise agreement, the franchisor "owns" the gross sales by reason of the contract, and can sell the contracts in the public markets to investors who are interested only in their gross EBITDA's comprised of royalties and fees, commissions, etc..

Perhaps, however, investors, as well as franchisees, in the future, will be interested in the unit performance of the franchise systems because "churning" of units and low profitability on a unit basis does make the system more vulnerable in recessions.

Carol

Posted by Guest on March 3rd, 2009

RE: Zees tell us what you want

Aside from the few rational voices on this forum you will typically find the shrill opinions of the disenchanted. Don has led this forum to irrelavence.

If you want reasoned dialogue join Linkedin.com and its various franchise forums where people have to register and there is no anonymous sniping.

And you snipers and your opinions are welcome as well, just behave yourself.

Posted by Guest on March 3rd, 2009

Linkedin Alternative

Guest writes: "If you want reasoned dialogue join Linkedin.com and its various franchise forums where people have to register and there is no anonymous sniping."

This is a very good point, people need to be reminded from time to time that there is a real person on the other end of your post.

Don, consider offering a registered version of BMM, in which the only posts that occur are from people with full registration. 

Michael Webster, a franchisee attorney in Toronto, Ontario, publishes a website on business opportunities and franchises called "The BizOp News"

Posted by michael webster on March 3rd, 2009

re: Linkedin

Michael, I agree so much that I made the same recommendation in the past. However, after hearing the reasoning behind this model, I believe that management made the right decision to keep dialogue alive (a BMM stimulus?).

And BTW, although 'somewhat' IT savvy as it pertains to SEO and other web issues, I still don't have (won't have) an IPod, a Blackberry, or a Facebook listing. Hell, I still buy cell phone minutes as needed because I was raised 'on the frugal'. But tell you what - I'm glad I kept those old wool suits and the Bose speaker system from the 70's. Why? Because the younger folks are absorbing some of the past as well.

It's all good.

--

Nick Bibby is an international franchise consultant and a program developer dedicated to excellence in entrepreneurship. 

Posted by Nick Bibby on March 3rd, 2009

Two Choices: Two Views

Carol and Nick; 

1.  I support Don's decision to allow anonymous posting because franchisees, or ex-franchisees have a real fear about identifying themselves as bearers of bad news.  I am entirely fine with this choice.

2.  But, and I have been harping on this for awhile, I would like the opportunity to simply view only the fully registered posts.  This view would disqualify some very interesting posters, so I would be unlikely to use only this view.  However, from time to time, I want to shut out the unregistered comments.  (I do this anyways, from time to time. But it would be nice to have this option made easy.)

Michael Webster, a franchisee attorney in Toronto, Ontario, publishes a website on business opportunities and franchises called "The BizOp News"

Posted by michael webster on March 3rd, 2009

re: two choices

If you are suggesting some type of BMM selector or ID switch/mechanism, that's an interesting idea, but I'd bet that most of us curretly follow your path of 'self-selection'.

If, on the other hand, you argue for 'registration' of an ID without it being a provable ID, then what good is that in terms of viability?

Wasn't/isn't that the problem with the Boston lawyer that can't really be ID'd as the claimed person?

--

Nick Bibby is an international franchise consultant and a program developer dedicated to excellence in entrepreneurship. 

Posted by Nick Bibby on March 3rd, 2009

Full Registration Option

Nick, I want a fully verified registration option for those who want to do so.  

Then, I want a simple filter to follow only the full registration posts.  

This would be an easy way to compete with the Linkedin model, and still retain the wild and crazy guy posts on BMM.

Michael Webster, a franchisee attorney in Toronto, Ontario, publishes a website on business opportunities and franchises called "The BizOp News"

Posted by michael webster on March 3rd, 2009

Wild and Crazy Posts

He who gets to determine which posts are wild and crazy is involved in private censorship that is perhaps fueled by his own motives for posting on the website.

Why do Nick Bibby and Michael Webster post on Blue Mau Mau? Certainly, it is not for the purpose of merely talking to one another!

Carol

Posted by Guest on March 3rd, 2009

re: wild and crazy

I, among others, post here for all to see, and under my actual identity, Carol (which I doubt is real to begin with). You, as an actual 'wild and crazy' poster make a perfect case for Michael's point - which I now endorse and encourage BMM to follow.

OK, Mr/Ms C of the Linked?

--

Nick Bibby is an international franchise consultant and a program developer dedicated to excellence in entrepreneurship. 

Posted by Nick Bibby on March 3rd, 2009

Wild and Crazy Response

What is this? Disingenuity from Nick Bibby? That's not like you Nick. Did I offend you when I suggested that your motive for posting was more than just polite conversation with Michael Webster and the other pro-franchise people on Blue Mau Mau. My motive for posting is to warn prospective franchisees and to win support for either eliminating federal regulation of franchising or making it fairer to the franchisees.

Just what wild and crazy things have I posted here or on the Internet under Carol Cross. I only speak what I believe to be the truth and which you confirm so often. That is, that the "status quo" of the sale and regulation of franchising permits franchisors to sell unviable franchises to the public and that government AND the franchisors like it that way. I even indicate sometimes that these franchisees are lost if they don't do business with attorneys like Richard Solomon, Paul Steinberg, Michael Webster, and others.

If I am not speaking the truth, just refute "my" truth with your greater truth which must be that regulation does protect franchisees, or what?

Posted by Guest on March 3rd, 2009

Is registration censorship?

I'm surprised that Michael Webster would suggest registration but is he suggesting that there would be no anonymous posting? The editor, of course, can bar certain posters, as is his right, from posting by blocking their URL. Of course, maybe one of the benefits of registration would be that the Editor would not block URL's without an explanation of the offense amd the blocking.

I think Michael Webster would know that required regiatration might silence many ZEES who post anonymously because they don't want their ZORS to retaliate and they feel freer to speak their minds, or they don't want people to be able to locate them and their pets and be intimidated. And, what about the SLAPP suits that the ABA Franchise Bar has been looking at?

You know that the Bar is looking at ways to use the "economic disadvantage" and "slander" laws to silence those who use their 1st Amendment rights and post on the Internet.

ZORS, of course, in the United States, can't make earnings claims outside of the actual FDD or the Contract and therefore can't really defend their franchise on the Internet in specific terms, but why don't all of their happy and profitable ZEES come on and talk about their great success with their businesses and refute the negatives?

Carol

Posted by Guest on March 3rd, 2009

Precisely right. There is

Precisely right. There is more to the story that she is hiding. But the Website owner keeps taking down the posts of people who pointed out she was at fault as well as some of her beliefs. Nothing like telling both sides of the story. A few weeks ago she went off because someone suggested she was at fault, and then she had all her post removed and all those of anyone who disagreed with her. Now that she is no longer exposed she is back lecturing again as if nothing happened. I wonder how many times this has been repeated at this website. It certainly undermines any credibility the website hoped to achieve.

on October 25th, 2011

I was under the impression that Don (site owner)

could not delete qnything for fear that he would be sued. when people libel franchise executives here he leaves them, but when the attackers get their feelings hurt he edits the threadw in hopes no one will notice. Don, what say you? You pleading the 5th on this matter?

Posted by Guest on November 3rd, 2011

Play nicely in article comment and public forum areas

Blue MauMau doesn't care about your position in a debate. There's no problem in saying someone is wrong in their reasoning and conclusions.The best way to avoid your posts being filtered out is to be civil. Discuss the issues instead of attacking personalities. Avoid attacking people you disagree with by constantly posting that they are dumb. That's also a flag of trolling efforts.

The software has been trained and continues to learn how to catch such posts. Human hands and judgment are at work as well.

Blue MauMau will not erase all of a member's postings because that's just not doable. It's generally too complex, particularly when they've been posting for weeks, let alone years. It's also against our policy.

You should find the specific registered-member's posts that you mentioned above still somewhere in this site. Use the search function if you need to find it. Spam and posts with swearing and other offensive language are flagged and often removed. If there is evidence of trolling, of habitually trying to stop conversations with explosive words, the troll, who generally are non-registered guests, will be moderated and in extreme cases banned completely from the site.

Another tip. Do not assume that all posts from "guest" are the same person or only from a few personalities. I understand it is tempting. However, after having just gleaned away several thousand registered members, this news site has roughly 23,000 registered members and hundreds of thousands of monthly visits. Only a few percentage of visitors and guests post but in raw numbers that is a lot. If you don't keep that in mind, you may find yourself dreaming up your favorite monster in every guest post. Be aware that any visitor who isn't a member and posts will be published as "guest".

In short, please play nicely in the comment and public forum areas.

The Blue MauMau news site is run by Blue MauMau, Inc.

on November 3rd, 2011