Instilling consumer confidence and contributing to a trustworthy marketplace are common goals shared by the DSEF and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB), one of the nation’s recognized leaders in developing and administering self-regulation programs for the business community.

In May 2010, the two organizations formed a close partnership that has resulted in an increased awareness and understanding—and appreciation—of the importance that the direct selling industry places as an industry on ensuring it is an ethical and trustworthy marketplace.

“The BBB, which is one of the most foremost brands of trust and integrity for consumers, is tasked with educating consumers as well as educating businesses about best practices,” says Catherine Landman, Chair of the DSEF Ethics Committee and the Chief Legal Officer for The Pampered Chef. “This parallels DSEF’s goal, which is to educate consumers about direct selling and the best practices direct sellers follow.”

The CBBB, the network hub for BBBs in the United States and Canada, is dedicated to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers. Millions of consumers visit its website each month seeking information that will help them make wise decisions relating to a variety of business practices, services and opportunities in the marketplace. 

“A key goal of DSEF’s partnership with the CBBB on ethics and trust in the marketplace is to provide accurate and valuable information on diverse business and consumer issues, including the direct selling method of distribution,” says Bettie L. Smith, Senior Program Director for DSEF. “Our unique partnership helps pave the way for increased respect and understanding among the 116 BBBs, direct sellers and the general public.”

The general public has been the biggest beneficiary of the partnership.  The DSEF has contributed numerous articles and videos on direct selling, as well as informative blog content, that consumers can easily access from the CBBB site.

Jim Guthrie, Senior Consultant of Advertising and Marketing for CBBB, says “the partnership has brought important, engaging and entertaining content to us that has enriched our website—content from DSEF about direct selling—both about the opportunities to get into the direct selling business and how to purchase knowledgeably through a direct selling channel. It’s the kind of information that the BBB offers to consumers who come on to our site asking about businesses. It’s a wonderful source of information.”

The CBBB tracks the content supplied by DSEF using 25 different metrics that evaluate the CBBB’s ability to deliver content to site visitors. Over the two years that the DSEF has contributed material, the interest in direct selling from consumers has not waned. The rate of engagement with DSEF’s content is at the top of the curve—approximately six times higher than an average message online. On a monthly basis, the CBBB site receives 1.3 million impressions directly related to the DSEF content.

“Consumers are very interested in what we have to offer about direct selling,” says Guthrie. “I think [the economy] is encouraging a lot of people to consider direct selling opportunities.”

Thanks to the efforts of the DSEF, CBBB visitors can find the information they need about becoming a direct seller.