No Reason To Fear Transparency

July 17, 2008 by  

I’m currently in the wilds of New York state on business. I ran into an unexpected road block yesterday — and no, construction limiting traffic to one lane isn’t what I’m talking about. (Although the wait was excruciating!)

I met with the manager of a mall to pitch her on upgrading their web site. What I thought was a glaring omission on the mall’s current site — namely, lack of a diagram of the mall detailing shops, kiosks and restaurants — was actually by design.

The mall’s web site was deficient in so many other ways. But ultimately, the manager rejected the need for a revamped web site, and if I read between the lines correctly, it was because the mall didn’t want to advertise its current state.

Let’s face it, signs of economic downturn are everywhere. In much of New York outside of the City, that’s been true for many years now. Mall management (and ownership) seem to think that not publishing an interactive map of the mall — which might show some vacancies — is an easy way to hide the current state of the place.

Wrong. The people who frequent the mall know this all too well. Yes, the half-finished Steve and Barry’s superstore that will never open is a tell-tale sign of something amiss. Locals can’t be fooled. So why hide the obvious?

Instead, do the right thing by merchants who still call the mall home. Play them up in every way possible. That means an interactive web site. Who knows, you might even bring in new traffic or lure a new tennant?

Blog originally posted at LI


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