Friday, July 12, 2013

Why invitation only?

As you may know, Agents are only allowed to file rates in PricePoint if they have been explicitly invited/endorsed by one of our Client Bookers.  Certainly the value of PricePoint is largely based on its geographic scope and population of participating Agents, so one might think we should maximize scope and population by any means necessary.  However there are a number of reasons why we created the invite-only policy early on and continue to apply it.

1) Startup scaling / beta testing

We founded GRIP as an independent “bootstrap startup” (i.e. no outside or industry investors), which requires being careful with use of limited resources and not bite off more than we could chew.  Therefore we didn’t naively plan to on-board the whole world into PricePoint at once.  Likewise all software is subject to bugs and ongoing improvement, so it’s best to start the user population relatively small and have it grow in pace with enhancements.  Meanwhile we allowed our Client users to determine which Agents and countries should be on-boarded, according to their needs and preferences. 

2) Integrity to Agents

It was important to us that we do not falsely represent opportunity to Agents.  By allowing Clients to control Agent invitations, it means that there is definite booking/tonnage available to an Agent who is asked to submit rates.  In other words, we would not want to waste the time of Agent in Zimbabwe (or our time for that matter) until a Client has actual bookings that can be offered to that Agent/location.  Therefore PricePoint’s scope of coverage grows organically according to the real needs of our growing Client base.

3) GRIP neutrality

As detailed in other posts, GRIP’s independence and neutrality is critically important.  As an industry veteran, I did not want there to be any real nor perceived bias according to my own industry history or relationships.  Only Clients can invite Agents into PricePoint, GRIP does not.

4) Quality control

There is an ongoing industry concern over “rogue movers”, and quality is certainly a gray and complex topic.  We have ongoing plans to enhance the quality dimension within PricePoint.  Pending those developments, we felt the invitation-only policy would serve as a practical quality control mechanism.  If a Client Booker sees pricing is available from an Agent they are not familiar with, they do have at least the basic assurance that the Agent has been implicitly endorsed by at least one other Client user.

As a natural follow-on point, if you are an Agent who wants to offer rates to our Client Booker group, you simply need to obtain approval from one of those Bookers and have it communicated to

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