July 6, 2000
Buying a diamond on the Internet can be risky. Tales of Internet scams and credit card fraud can make any intelligent consumer concerned. Luckily, DIAINFO.com is there to educate customers shopping for diamonds online.
DIAINFO calls itself "an independent and unsolicited public service diamond information site." There are no advertisements; instead, there is simple information to help a consumer with a diamond purchase. Right away, a user can see DIAINFO's bias proclaimed on the homepage: "DIAINFO.com publishes this Web site to educate and warn consumers about the problems that can occur when purchasing diamonds from an Internet diamond jewelry company." Ouch! Is DIAINFO out to get Internet jewelers? Either way, what's important is not why they published the site; rather, it is what information the site contains. It turns out the site is important for all kinds of jewelers and potential diamond buyers.
Like other diamond education sites, DIAINFO explains the 4Cs, and it adds in one more for confidence. The 4C sections are short, to-the-point and include helpful diagrams. The fifth C is used to promote the benefit of buying from a hometown bricks-and-mortar jeweler rather than an Internet jeweler. Instead of dismissing this C as a DIAINFO bias, you can learn something valuable from it: customers have fears, and to be successful selling on the Web, you must address this issue. If you augment your physical store with a Web presence, capitalize on your strengths as a bricks-and-mortar jeweler.
The site's "Internet Diamond Buyer Beware" section explains some of the things consumers should watch out for when shopping for a diamond on the Web. Among the scams briefly described are fake certificates, laser drilled diamonds and fracture filled diamonds. Some of these and other Web rip-offs are explained in more detail in the "News Stories" section.
Finally, there is the "Brick-and-Mortar vs. Click-and-Order" section. Again, this section favors the home-town retailer, but it still makes a variety of valid points. What type of jewelers offer over 30-day return/exchange policies, lifetime diamond guarantees, free diamond inspections, free jewelry cleaning, layaway plans and extended repair warrantees? DIAINFO says only bricks-and-mortar based jewelers offer these services and more. The section also provides a list of established jewelers found to be trustworthy, and DIAINFO does recommend buying from a bricks-and-mortar store with an Internet presence.
Overall, the site offers consumers valuable diamond information. It may favor the bricks-and-mortar stores, but it does give Internet jewelers more insight into why customers may fear buying diamonds online.
- by Julia M. Duncan