Are We Allowed to Post MSC + Client if the MSC lists Client on Website?

Lots of MSCs list their clients (e.g., Reality Based Group) on their website. In these cases, would it be an ICA violation to link the two?

My only thought was that maybe the "client" isn't utilizing the MSC for mystery shopping.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2019 07:59AM by shoptastic.

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Do you not have any shops to do? Why on earth would you post this? The rules are very simple: Do not reveal the client of mystery shopping companies.

You could start your own forum and post whatever you choose.
No and out of curiosity I just looked at the list on the RBG website and I have never seen any jobs for any of those companies in my area. And that is true for any msc where I have seen their home page with a list of (former) clients. I gather all those clients listed there are in your area or you are just trying to throw people off.
If I have a secret, and I tell you not to tell anyone my secret, that doesn't mean if I tell someone else then you can to.

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At the moment only demons come to mind


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2019 07:08PM by bgriffin.
@bgriffin wrote:

If I have a secret, and I tell you not to tell anyone my secret, that doesn't mean if I tell someone else then you can to.

If you tell someone else, it is no longer a secret.
The MSC reps can read posts here and contact the member directly. Even they respect the forum guidelines and refrain from publicly posting such information.

Job listing sites; [www.msjobboard.com] - Shopmetrics; [www.mystshopsol.com]; [www.jobslinger.com] - Sassie; [www.volition.com] - Various links; [www.mspa-na.org] -MSPA Members; link at bottom of forum page to their extensive list of companies
As sandyf said, the list on their page is often out of date. And the forum rule still stands.
@sandyf wrote:

No and out of curiosity I just looked at the list on the RBG website and I have never seen any jobs for any of those companies in my area. And that is true for any msc where I have seen their home page with a list of (former) clients. I gather all those clients listed there are in your area or you are just trying to throw people off.

I definitely was not trying to throw people off!!

When clients listed on an MSC's homepage are not in my area, I don't assume they are inactive, as I don't know enough about what shows up in other people's regions to know if they are or not. I shop within a 45 mile radius or so.

Nonetheless, thanks to everyone who confirmed that we cannot link the two entities together! I was genuinely wondering, but have never done so (outside of accidents) and will not do so going forward.

eta: I'm now unsure if I can answer your last sentence question, since IF some of the clients are active in my area, I don't know if I can reveal that now. smiling smiley I just will always stick to the safest choice, which is to never reveal.

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 07/25/2019 07:55AM by shoptastic.
@Aquiest wrote:

@bgriffin wrote:

If I have a secret, and I tell you not to tell anyone my secret, that doesn't mean if I tell someone else then you can to.

If you tell someone else, it is no longer a secret.

Yeah, that was part of my thinking/wondering.

There definitely are some MSCs that list active clients on their homepages. So, it's not a secret.

But, I guess they can still have good reasons for not wanting us to reveal them (like other dynamics we may not know of and that are important to them). Additionally, I have seen situations where the clients listed are not for ms-ing, but instead clients for other purposes.

Ex: One big MSC lists a famous client, but they have an article on their website that says what services they provide for that client and ms-ing is not one of the things listed. So you also have that problem (which I mentioned in the OP as well).

Regardless, I'll continue to not link the two. smiling smiley

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/25/2019 08:14AM by shoptastic.
Shoptastic, when I have seen lists of clients on the msc websites they are generally not any of the clients I find when I start to mystery shop for them. Most of the msc have many forms of "research" they do for their clients other than what we do.
I have a checking account at one of the big banks in the country and have had it for over 35 years. A few months ago they invited me to join their "customer council" and said they would like me to once in a while give them feedback on new programs they are considering putting forth. Was I surprised when the first one showed up in my inbox and it was from IPSOS who I mystery shop for. I did a double take wondering why IPSOS had assigned me a shop for that bank when I never did any bank shops for them. Now every time I get one of those emails from IPSOS it throws me off a little.
The clients listed on the site seem to be older clients of the company who have written a testimonial or allowed them to use their name. I am pretty sure in most cases these are not current companies they are contracted with. If you click around on the tabs on the main website as if you are a potential client you can see all the different services some of these mystery shop companies offer aside from mystery shopping.
@sandyf wrote:

Shoptastic, when I have seen lists of clients on the msc websites they are generally not any of the clients I find when I start to mystery shop for them. Most of the msc have many forms of "research" they do for their clients other than what we do.

I think (from vague memory) that's usually true, sandy.

I definitely HAVE seen active ms clients on MSC websites. But (as you say), usually the ones listed don't have shops in my area, at least. I - like you - also typically assume they are past clients, clients with shops outside my area, and/or ones that are having business research performed on them.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/25/2019 08:26AM by shoptastic.
It matters not whether or not you would shop for an MSC or a client; forum rules still require that the MSC/client relationship not be revealed.

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Everyone knows under no circumstances should anyone name a client and the MS in the same message. What you need to do is come up with a clever name for the client. A well-known hamburger shop which practically everyone in the US knows uses 'golden arches' could be called 'Golden Arches'. The only recognized gas station company which uses yellow signage could be called the 'Yellow Gas Station'.

As only mystery shoppers are able to work out which companies these 'cryptic' names refer to, it is NOT like revealing the names of clients at all.
@doggy wrote:

As only mystery shoppers are able to work out which companies these 'cryptic' names refer to, it is NOT like revealing the names of clients at all.

Some of us believe that using 'cryptic' names for clients as a way to get around an ICA is still an ICA violation. Using another name for a client IS DEFINITELY like revealing the names of clients. Mystery shoppers are not the only ones who can work out the 'cryptic' names. For example, the nickname "Golden Arches" is something McDonald's has been called all over the world for many years. Is there ANYBODY anywhere in the world who is even remotely familiar with McDonald's who would not immediately recognize the Golden Arches or the clown Ronald McDonald?

If a mystery shopper's intent is to reveal the name of the MSC that shops a particular client, then I view it as an ICA violation whether the shopper uses the name of the client or a 'cryptic' name.
@roflwofl wrote:


Some of us believe that using 'cryptic' names for clients as a way to get around an ICA is still an ICA violation. .


Totally agree with this. I was being sarcastic when I stated that only mystery shoppers work out the 'cryptic' names.

It is ironic that that those who are always pouncing on newbies for ICA violations are often the same ones who use the silly names to try to 'cleverly' get round the ICA violation issue themselves.
The client naming issue isn't actually the major issue some on here claim it is. The rule is basically to protect the MS companies from fools writing garbage on social media which would make them look bad if their clients saw it. The MS companies are not overly concerned if someone on a forum meant for professionals accidently links the MS company with a client.
@doggy wrote:

The client naming issue isn't actually the major issue some on here claim it is. The rule is basically to protect the MS companies from fools writing garbage on social media which would make them look bad if their clients saw it. The MS companies are not overly concerned if someone on a forum meant for professionals accidently links the MS company with a client.

What’s your source for this info?
@kenasch wrote:

What’s your source for this info?

It is common sense. Owners of mystery shopping firms are well aware which clients their rivals have. Anyone can register for a MS (even with a fake name) and then instantly see the client list if they wanted. It is hardly a secret which MS companies have which clients.

As long as a mystery shopper doesn’t act as a representative of the MS company while bad-mouthing the MS’s client on a public forum, nobody cares.

That said, this forum does appear to have the rule about naming clients so that should be respected. Although, maybe the rule should be extended to those who use easily identifiable ‘cryptic’ names for clients. MacDonald’s = Golden arches to pretend otherwise is ridiculous. Those using the term ‘Golden arches’ are violating their contract with the MS as much as those who name the client as ‘MacDonald’s’.
@doggy wrote:

The MS companies are not overly concerned if someone on a forum meant for professionals accidently links the MS company with a client.

I respectfully disagree.

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