Why I'm Wary of White-Label Services

Why I’m Wary of White-Label Services

Last month I saw the funniest headline I can recall outside of The Onion. As USA Today put it:

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It’s tough to determine what parts of your business and job should be outsourced or not outsourced. As CEO, maybe the logical solution is that all your work should be outsourced, as in, whatever work you’re actually doing is work that can’t be scaled. But in practice it never works like that, and if any service is involved, talent performs as talent is. SEO is such a funny industry, @masonpelt really like how you put it as “a word that for many means anything related to the internet and marketing in any way.”

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I agree with you fully, my focus on agencies & pro services firms is that they are already one layer of outsourcing. If a company has already said, “we want to outsource this.” – How many middle layers between that company and whomever is providing the services are really acceptable?

I mean, assassin, subcontracts to a hitman, who white-labels a gunslinger, who goes to an in network freelancer, who hires someone from craigslist… :wink: At some point the client is getting ripped off.

haha that is such a funny title.

counter point: maybe the customer who’s hiring a hitman deserves to be ripped off.

Well, perhaps services like design, production, advertising & development can strive to be just a bit more trustworthy than murderers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YG6DifUtPvs

This was a great read! White label in the service industry is definitely not all that’s it’s cracked up to be.

The irony of the “turtles all the way down” hitman scenario is the more layers deep, the more covert they can make it—easier deniability.

However, in professional agency services, if I have to chase a subcontractor (who happens to have outsourced to another person who ends up being 3 levels deep), that’s not in our best interest nor the client’s.

Exactly. We are a small shop, and we do work with contractors. But they are the same people we have worked with for years. If I cannot handle a video shoot, I know who can. Something that everyone I love working with has in common is a belief that quality is a unique reward, separate from billables.

I wrote this after talking to someone who’s company had a nightmare scenario. They hired an agency that farmed out each piece of work; many of those agencies had also subcontracted. The webmaster was unreachable directly. Everything was a game of telephone, and after a year and many thousands of dollars, the business had no results to show.

A business is rarely so aware that an agency had not done anything — most businesses defend even bad agencies. Because it is easy to see results, but hard to see when results are less than they should have been. In this case, the results were nothing, and the cost was high. Also, it was hard to hold anyone to account for the failure.