I set up the ValueIreland.com website in August 2003 at what was the height of what has turned out to have been the first wave of what became known as “Rip Off Ireland” – assuming that we might consider that we’re currently undergoing the second major wave of “Rip Off Ireland” during 2008.
I set up the website after I returned to Ireland in early 2003 after working for 6 years in a financial services company in London, New York and Hong Kong. While each of those cities could have been regarded as expensive,
I saw that Ireland, and Dublin in particular, was approaching them in terms of the costs of many goods and services. However, it was also immediately obvious that while costs were similar, the levels of service in Ireland tended to be much inferior.
Around about that time there was much media coverage regarding “Rip Off Ireland”. Back then, as now, you only had to read articles in newspapers and magazines, and to listen to news and chat shows, all commenting on (or complaining about) the perceived high cost of living in Ireland.
Gap in the Market
Given all the media coverage however, there was no online consumer presence apart from a static webpage being provided by the Consumer Association of Ireland.
From my time working in London, in particular, I used numerous online resources that provided reviews, tips and advice that would help in guiding purchasing decisions. So whether it be buying electronics or going out for a meal, there were websites that allowed people provide reviews and feedback on where to go, and where not to go.
No such service existed in Ireland in August 2003, and ValueIreland.com was born.
The original Value Ireland Forum and web page was set up by to address this gap in the internet consumer market at the time.
The aim of Value Ireland was to provide an internet based forum which would allow Irish consumers to share greater information about the costs and services provided by Irish businesses and to allow them avoid the so-called “Rip off Merchants”, and to concentrate their purchasing activities on those providers that are known to provide value, as well as quality and service.
The name “Value Ireland” came about in an attempt to focus on a more positive aspect the whole “Rip Off Ireland” phenomenon. I purposely decided to avoid registering any names involving the word “Rip Off” as I wanted to focus consumers on the value providing Irish businesses at the expense of those providing crap value and service.
“Better Purchasing Decisions through Better Information” became the slogan for ValueIreland.com. It was felt that once Irish consumers were able to get more information, independent of advertising, and from other fellow consumers, that they would be able to chose those businesses providing excellent quality, value and service and avoid those that were not.
The Development of the Site
In the early days of the site, the Value Ireland Forum was very busy with subscribers logging on and providing examples of their good and bad customer experiences.
Based on much of the feedback and comments, ValueIreland.com began to provide consumer tips, advice and research articles to aid Irish consumers in their day to day consumer activities.
As time went on, these articles became more popular than the Value Ireland Forum, which was eventually phased away.
Since 2006, the focus of ValueIreland.com has moved to providing greater focus on tips, advice and regular opinion and commentary on consumer affairs in Ireland today.
The blog is updated daily, and top tips are provided on a weekly basis. Research articles are also provided on a regular basis and updated as necessary when situations change.
What you are looking at today is the amalgamation of the original ValueIreland.com website as well as the ValueIreland Blog. This single website will better provide the kind of consumer information that Irish consumers need.