Fun Facts

Shop Early, Shop Wisely, and Consider the Poor Recipent18 facts you probably didn’t know about the BBB

    • The total number of inquiries processed by the entire BBB system in 1961 was 100,000. Today, the BBB system processes over 87,000,000 instances of service to the public!
    • Following World War II, the BBB began a nationwide advertising campaign to help returning soldiers hold on to their War Savings Bonds and make wise purchases.
    • During World War II, the federal government enlisted the help of the BBB to investigate charity appeals under the War Charities Act.
    • Much of the BBB’s early work in the 1920s and 1930s was against stock and investment schemes, making the BBB the “darling of Wall Street.”
    • Most early Better Business Bureau offices were born out of advertising club projects called Vigilance Committees. The name Better Business Bureau wasn’t officially adopted until 1916.
    • The first Canadian BBB was founded in 1928. It was located in Montreal.
    • The first BBB was located in Minneapolis starting in 1912. In fact, Cleveland and Salt Lake City, were tied for second, both incorporated in 1913.
    • The 1929 Assembly of BBBs meeting planned to address “human rascality in its most ingenious forms.”
    • In 1951, there were 81 BBB locations and they had a total of 12 branch offices.
    • In 1915, the top industry for BBB inquiries was “Door to Door Insurance Sales.”
    • BBBs first came together as a system in 1921 under a national headquarters organization called the “National Better Business Commission of the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World.”
    • One of the early, and ultimately unsuccessful, names for the BBB was “Better Advertising Bureau.”
    • The creator of the name “Better Business Bureau” was Arthur F. Sheldon, founder of a well-known school of salesmanship. He suggested the name to the chairman of the National Vigilance Committee in 1916.
    • The national headquarters of the BBB system was located in Cleveland from 1921 to 1933 and in New York City from 1933 to 1970.
    • During the Great Depression, the following BBBs closed for varying periods of time: Augusta, Birmingham, Buffalo, Canton, Denver, Hartford, Lancaster, Lima, Louisville, Montreal, Peoria, San Jose, and Tulsa.
    • One of the earliest roots of the BBB was the Sphinx Club, the predecessor to the Advertising Club of New York, which formed in 1896 with the motto “Honesty in Advertising.”
    • The first comprehensive computerized BBB database system was started at the BBB of Upstate New York in 1981.
    • The first BBB site on the Internet (not even yet called World Wide Web) was from the BBB of Massachusetts, Main, Rhode Island & Vermont in 1991, providing a searchable reliability report database. It was one of the earliest sites on the Internet to do so.