Read this article in The Grand Rapids Press “Got a spare hour? Zipments.com will pay you to move something across town“.
The day before the launch of an international conference, organizers have better things to do than schlep 15 boxes of brochures and other materials from Grand Valley State University’s downtown campus to the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.
So Ryan Vaughn, an outreach consultant for the Center for Entrepreneurship, went to Zipments.com, a new online venture in which people who need things delivered can connect with people who will make the delivery. And the senders name their price.
He posted the job for $50, giving a window of time in which it had to be done. David Tilley, a registered courier with Zipments, signed up. He picked up the boxes, and the job was done.
Zipments.com is local courier service in West Michigan, where customers can post local “shipping” jobs, and couriers can bid on these posted shipping jobs. The customer picks the winning courier out of all the bids received for that job.
As a recently launched business Zipments.com has been doing its share of public relations, but after reading this latest Grand Rapids Press story something just didn’t feel right to me. So let me lay out some facts that might make you look at the Zipments.com article a little differently.
- Laura Pecherski works for Zipments.com as a Sales & Marketing Director (from the article)
- Ryan Vaughn is outreach consultant for the Center for Entrepreneurship at GVSU (from the article)
- Laura Pecherski and Ryan Vaughn are in a relationship (more can be found on their twitter handles (lpecherski & RyanHVaughn ) and blog (Laura’s)
- Dave Tilley, the courier in the above story, works as a manager at The Factory (previous blog mention), and is a member at The Factory
- Laura Pecherski worked in a marketing function for The Factory, and is a member as well.
- Laura Pecherski and Dave Tilley worked together at The Factory
- Ryan Vaughn is also a member at The Factory
In reading the above facts, can you see the many possible conflicts of interest? It doesn’t seem right in my opinion. I don’t have a problem with any of the above people doing business with each other, but to use the example of Ryan Vaughn of Center for Entrepreneurship, using Zipments.com to move boxes, and Dave Tilley was chosen as the courier, seems so…… manufactured, especially as the lead in the story.
In fact the article now brings up many more questions. Like was Grand Rapids Press Reporter Cami Reister aware of these relationships outlined above? If she did why was the story run as is? If she wasn’t aware, how come more fact checking wasn’t done? In regards to Zipments.com, did they suggest this as a story? Why? As mentioned in the article they had about two other Zipments.com couriers which they could have easily led the story with.
For me knowing the above facts, does change the story, it’s like the shipment never happened and gives me the impression that Zipments.com is a crony run business (rightly or wrongly). As noted here, I am just a blogger and not a journalist or a public relations guy, so maybe this isn’t odd at all. But something this story just isn’t right. What do you think?