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Saturday 18 February 2012

Why you shouldn't use "The Good Care Guide" (goodcareguide.co.uk)

The Good Care Guide (goodcareguide.co.uk) looks like an admirable thing at first glance - an independent way for user of care services for the elderly and infants to review the quality of care both good and bad. This is particularly useful with care for the elderly where there often isn't much information, and the site has generated a lot of press comment (for example, the BBC, Sky News and the Press Association).

So... is this an entirely altruistic service? Not really. The Good Care Guide is provided in part by My Family Care Ltd which specialises in providing emergency, out-of-hours and holiday homecare for children and the elderly (e.g. emergencychildcare.co.uk, outofschoolcare.co.uk, emergencyhomecare.co.uk and myfamilycare.co.uk). Not that there appears to be anything wrong with these services, in fact they look to be pretty good and fill an important market niche.

When you sign up to write a review for the Good Care Guide, you have to give pretty much ALL your personal information including home address and telephone number. OK, that's fair enough if you want to make sure that the reviews are genuine..

The catch comes with the privacy policy which to be fair spells out what they are going to do with your personal information very clearly.
With whom we share your information

GCG may share your information with the following entities:
  • Third-party vendors who provide services or functions on our behalf. Third-party vendors have access to and may collect information only as needed to perform their functions and are not permitted to share or use the information for any other purpose.
  • Business partners with whom we may offer products or services in conjunction. You can tell when a third party is involved in a product or service you have requested because their name will appear either with ours or separately.
  • Affiliated Web sites. If you were referred to GCG from another Web site, we may share your registration information, such as your name, email address, mailing address and telephone number about you with that referring Web site. We have not placed limitations on the referring Web sites' use of personal information and we encourage you to review the privacy policies of any Web site that referred you to GCG.
  • Companies within our corporate family. We may share your personal information within the My Family Care Group. This sharing enables us to provide you with information about care services which might interest you.

So basically.. they will share your information with other parts of their own company, any referring website and indeed any third party business partner that they seem fit. OK, everybody needs to run a business but there is no opt out clause. If you want to write a review, then you are agreeing to receive marketing communication by email, post and even telephone regarding care services, essentially without limitation.

The Good Care Guide are not doing anything illegal. But childcare is expensive, and care for the elderly is very expensive. There is a lot of money to be made out of this type of care, and it looks like the operators of the Good Care Guide want a share of this market through their own paid-for services.

Until the Good Care Guide give an opt-out for marketing communications, then I cannot recommend this service as it looks suspiciously like a lead generator rather than a public service.

1 comment:

Mark Chapman (ReallyCare CIC) said...

I would welcome your comments (privately if unfavourable!) on www.bettercareguide.org, which I launched in response to Good Care Guide. It is not for profit, appearance in search results are not affected by money changing hands and the intention is that the data collected is kept open for the public good. What exactly that means when there appear to be two government supported websites about to do the same thing is not yet clear to me.