I was seeing a lot of ads looking for secret shoppers when I thought of this improvement, if you want to call it that. The format for all of these companies was pretty similar. You visited an establishment posing as a customer and then filled out and submitted a form to the secret shopping company about your experience.

I figured if a questionnaire filled with information was good, actual video of the event would be even better. Imagine having an entire restaurant dinner taped so you don’t even have to trust the secret shopper and his interpretation of how things played out. In a normal scenario, you’d have to accept the secret shopper’s explanation and hope he wasn’t an unreasonable or obnoxious twit.

We all know people are different, and one persons idea of waiting a long time might be drastically different than someone else’s. Same goes for attitude. One person’s curt is another person’s overwhelmed. Video solves this. I even found a decent domain name (videoaudit.com) too, though I no longer own it. It seems to be unused at the moment, parked at a registrar. It was before I started my domain collection (obsession), so I let this one expire after a couple years.

I purchased a small (for its time) storage device with a tiny camera to plug into it about the size of a quarter. The recording unit was from Archos and it was slightly bigger than the size of a 3.5 inch hard drive. Imagine trying to conceal that, right? To make matters worse, I was going to have to McGyver my own battery pack so I can use it while I was on the go. I never actually used it for this business idea. I think I was more excited to play with a cool new gadget if I’m being entirely honest here.

This one fizzled out when I started researching recording laws. What a headache! In this state only one party in a conversation needs to consent to have audio recorded. In that state all parties have to know and agree to be recorded. In other states only video recording is permissible. If that wasn’t enough, how does it change things if the owner of the property (business) consents? What about employee rights, or when other customers are recorded unknowingly?

No thanks. I’m not afraid of spending a lot of time and energy doing research for an idea (heck, the prep work plays right into my wheelhouse), but this one seems like it would require a bunch of expensive legal advice up front. Since there was no guarantee I’d even be able to perform this task in my state (or the surrounding states) before paying out a boat load of money first, this one quickly became an easy pass.

On to the next one.