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Archive for March, 2015

Identity theft and who has the keys to your virtual house?

Identity theft and who has the keys to your virtual house?

We were moving out of the neighborhood where we have lived for the past 23 years. Tracy, our neighbor, invited us over for a farewell dinner.  Tracy knows that I have been in technology for a long time and related the story of her recent identity theft where the thieves came very close to emptying her bank account. It started with the bad guys phishing and finding her personal email address. This data breach and cybercrime was incredibly invasive to Tracy as she now had to get rid of the personal email address she had used for over twenty years.

 

The front door to our virtual house, hence our privacy, is our personal email address. It seems we give this email address to everybody. Concerned about their privacy, many consumers simply get a second or third email they use as their ‘spam address’ – typically a Hotmail or Gmail address. So now we have two or three front doors to our virtual house. Susie Baszkeiwicz blogged in January about 9 reasons you should have more than one email address. Avoid spam & hackers, protect yourself, have a disposable email, have an alias and have a backup are 5 of her 9 reasons that we built Dodoname.

How many of us would hand out the keys to our front, side and back door of our regular house to every merchant or supplier who said, “I won’t sell to you unless you give me the keys to your house.” If that seems a little insane in the real world then why do we do it in the virtual world?

Consider that identify theft is a Type I invasion of our privacy and that spam is a Type II invasion of our privacy. Clearly a Type I privacy breach is more serious than Type II privacy breach.

For Type I protection most consumers continue to use their personal email address – the less secure email address. Why? Because there is no easy way to manage our secondary emails, which are filled with spam, and not really the place we want to collect and manager our ‘good’ communications. We shrug our shoulders and continue to use our personal email addresses for the really important stuff. The phishers know this. Consumers should understand what phishing is and how to protect themselves. Read this article from the Safety & Security Center at Microsoft for more information about how to protect yourself.

Using a Dodoname for key confidential registrations would eliminate much of the risk because a Dodoname can only ever be used by that one service. Moreover, the managed email system in Dodoname provides users with a powerful way to store and manage confidential communications. Finally, Dodoname is also designed as a marketplace where merchants and consumers can meet, sell and buy with confidence that the consumer’s private information is protected. Privacy with Personalization is the core architectural feature of Dodoname. Everyone should have a Dodoname.

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2015 is the year of the sheep. And of personalization.

2015 is the year of the sheep. And of personalization.

2015 is the year of the sheep, according to the Chinese zodiac. And it’s also the year of personalization, according to several authors (DeGiovanni, Holobach, Ballance, Shandwick). The imagery of too many merchants treating their consumers like sheep is compelling. Chinese New Year was only a few weeks ago so marketers should make a resolution to stop treating their customers like sheep.

Too often, we consumers feel like we are just another one, an invisible consumer, a sheep. What we really want is to feel like we are the one, the only. Even just a little different would be fine. Consumer oneness is the core of personalization.

Personalization is hard. There are so many sheep that need to be categorized that most marketers simply give in to batch and blast email marketing. Of course, the sheep metaphor is demeaning to consumers but even more demeaning is for marketers to treat us like sheep.

Consumer personalization is hard because of the almost infinite number of individual differences between consumers. Trying to solve for infinity is intractable – a boil-the-ocean problem. Any sales pitch from a personalization product supplier promising ‘the’ solution is simply false.

Marketers should focus on a bite-sized personalization problem to start with, and expand or change as solutions reveal their efficacy. Moreover, this approach reduces costs, risks and provides flexibility and adaptability. What would be your choice of message to the C-suite; “We’re locked in to this solution,” or, “We’re adapting as we go”? Your efficacy as a marketer is closely aligned to your tenure with the firm.

Capturing actionable data about consumers is the marketer’s Holy Grail. Primary data where information about a consumer is generated by and shared by the consumers themselves is invaluable compared to secondary scraped data sources. Battlefield data is always superior to boardroom data. Primary data directly from a consumer implies that the consumer is in control. Give consumers direct control over their own information and the sheep become wolves. This is a big-time move up the food chain for a marketer.

The Dodoname consumer Persona is designed to provide marketers with primary data. In Dodoname, the consumer is motivated to provide this information because of the inherent reward structure built into the system. Dodoname guarantees the privacy of the consumer with the currency for that privacy being the completion of their Persona. It’s a win-win for the sheep turned to wolf consumers because they can “Get the stuff they want without revealing who they are.”

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Personalization is more powerful than intrusive batch-and-blast ecommerce

Personalization is more powerful than intrusive batch-and-blast ecommerce

By Michael Gaffney

The demise of batch-and-blast ecommerce has been foretold by several writers – Davidson and Senne, among others – over the past 24 months. However, our inboxes are still being filled with emailed offers from senders without any differentiation. You get the same offer as I do, and so do innumerable other folks. Hence the term batch and blast.

Merchants that are still practicing batch-and-blast ecommerce solutions are in danger. If your reputation as a merchant is important, then recognize that sender-reputation algorithms are becoming more and more vigilant at identifying batch-and-blast spam. The poorer the targeting and personalization of your online communications with consumers, the lower your online reputation scores.

The question has to be asked: Why are merchants still using batch and blast? The answer is simple: Because it’s easy to do, and there are a ton of resources already built and ready to deliver this solution.

To attract highly valued customers, merchants are turning to the tremendous growth in online shopping and the various products that help promote and sell their products. Merchants must convert searches to web visits, web visits to shopping carts and shopping carts to purchases. All along the buying journey, they also must create stronger customer loyalty, accelerate repeat purchases, retain customers and, most importantly, have a customer-conquest strategy.

The key to moving away from batch and blast is personalization. Currently, personalization on the web is considered to be the tailoring of pages to individual users’ characteristics or preferences. However, the source of data about users’ characteristics or preferences are, in large part, the numerous information-scraping tools that watch and monitor your browsing behaviour. Security software vendor Sentor estimates that 23% of total web traffic is now related to information scraping. This number is shocking in its size. But it is also interesting because it indicates the high demand for information about consumers that is required to support personalization efforts.

Most of the information collected by information scraping is secondary data. By contrast, merchants are mainly interested in primary data. I won’t get into the benefits and differences between primary and secondary data.; it’s enough to say that the more primary data available to a merchant, the better the personalization.

Dodoname was designed to be a primary-data-personalization solution. The consumer’s Dodoname Persona is completed directly by the consumer. The meta data of their purchasing behaviour inside the Dodoname application of clicks, favourites, purchases and shares is another source of powerful primary data. With Dodoname, merchants can seamlessly move from batch and blast to personalization and more successful ecommerce because Dodoname was designed as a marketing and sales platform to take consumers from promotion through to converting shopping baskets.

(Image: flickr, Alone by Paul Friel, link.)

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