Be a force of one

If you have a beef with a company and want to take it digital, here are a few things to consider:

Building a site takes time and money. So an easier route is to find sites that can help you write letters and send messages to offending entities or government agencies.

The National Consumer Complaint Center (www.alexanderlaw.com/nccc/), www.comments.com, and ecomplaints. com are just a few you can use.

But if you feel setting up a protest site is in order, avoid personal attacks on company employees and don't sell products or services through the site.

Also, don't build your site on your problem alone - make space for others to share their complaints.

But be warned: Inevitably, some complaints will be vitriolic. Consider posting a request to keep things clean and reasonable.

Also, consider networking with others. If you have an issue with a big company, odds are good that others do too. So there may already be a complaint site out there that can help promote your site or serve as a model.

Yahoo!, the search engine, lists gripe sites under the category "consumer opinion."

You can also visit the Consumer Aid Education Center (www.consumeraid.org) for links to protest sites and advice on how to best handle consumer-related problems.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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