#duecredit to @MartinSLewis - his work has been original and compelling and for that alone, it deserves respect. Recession dictates that there will be those who find his £87 million money saving deal unpalatable, but when his individuality has been as inspired as that of any Wayne Rooney or Leona Lewis, the question is less whether he should profit from his talent than whether our notions of reward are at fault. He has simply applied sound business acumen to building a brand, then selling it.
With money saving on trend, Martin’s deal speaks volumes about the capacity to turn a profit when so many people are struggling. For my part, I founded Zero-credit because there was nowhere to find savings that improved my insolvent state - unable to bogof without the one I could not afford, #creditfree was born. Thus, beyond the similarity of my £150 investment in a website in 2009, compared to Martin’s £100 nine years ago, our businesses have never run the same course.
Earlier this year, our Coop was quite vocal about Martin’s proximity to MoneySupermarket. How could someone so critical of debt management firms and payday lenders receive an income from a company that refers consumers to both? #duecredit to Martin, he effected an introduction and MoneySupermarket could not have been more earnest about their desire to connect people safely to products and services that so many were already using. In the fight against scammers you cannot fault either.
That both believe they are acting in the consumer’s interest is not in question, it is rather the impartiality of financial advice, funded by referral fees, which is the issue. This is why Zero-credit has never taken a penny in advertising, sponsorship or backlinks. To be truthful, we dallied briefly with promoting savings accounts from mutuals this time last year, but our Members hated it and no one used it, so the page came down within a month. It confirmed our starting point that the market is crying out for recommendations with absolutely no possibility of strings attached.
Later this month, we celebrate our third digital birthday and our annual site revamp will feature much more of our work informing financial services in the UK. So, if you’re one of the 39 million MSE users feeling a little irked that your digital footprint was sold for £2.23, why not pay a pound to own a share in our co-operative? It’s unlikely that anyone at Zero-credit will ever make £87million, but there is no doubt that we are the shape of things to come.
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