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Use Dodoname to Stop Phishing Attacks. | phishing, privacy, email

Use Dodoname to Stop Phishing Attacks. | phishing, privacy, email

“A woman in the UK has been scammed out of her life savings through a simple phishing email orchestrated by cyber criminals.” Yahoo June 29, 2015.

On March 19 I wrote a blog – ‘Identity theft and who has the keys to your virtual house?’ It was inspired by a story about a neighbor of mine who was about to make the same terrible mistake as this unfortunate woman in the UK.

Creating a Dodoname account and using a Dodoname email address could have eliminated the phishing problem in both cases. Phishers endeavor make themselves look like a legitimate enterprise that you would normally transact business with – such as your bank or eBay. The first key to the phisher is to get your email address. Once they have your email address they can try to insert themselves into your daily communications by mimicking the legitimate business and eventually trying to gain your trust and trick you into handing over money or private information.

Using a Dodoname email address would have gone a long way to stopping the risk of these phishing attacks – and other invasions of your privacy. Your first line of defence against phishers is to use a Dodoname email address whenever you register for any online service. Because of Dodoname’s ‘matched sender’ feature, a phishers’ attempt to use this email would simply fail. A Dodoname email address is of no use to phishers, spammers, and scammers. Not only does Dodoname give you have privacy and freedom on the Internet but your inbox gets dramatically cleaned out of spam.

Remember, never give out your real email address again – use a Dodoname email address. Dodoname is you personal privacy manager.

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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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The week in review: Dodoname goes mobile, U.S. president proposes privacy protection, plus data breach updates

The week in review: Dodoname goes mobile, U.S. president proposes privacy protection, plus data breach updates

In our weekly roundup, we draw your attention to selected news and articles that highlight issues relating to invasions of your online privacy and threats to the security of your personal data, including problems that Dodoname can help solve. This week, Dodoname went mobile, Obama’s privacy proposition draws cheers and jeers, and data breaches and settlements for same continued to make news. For all our privacy, security and personal data related posts follow @MyDodoname on Twitter.

Protecting your online privacy: there’s an app for that

‘Round Dodoname HQ, this was a big week. After months of slaving over a hot app store, this week the free Dodoname iOS app was made available on the Apple App Store. Got an iPhone? Like privacy? Then head over to the App Store and download the on-the-go version of our platform.

From the news release:

Whether you’re shopping online, visiting a retailer’s physical store, working or browsing, the situation often arises where you are asked to provide an email address. Perhaps it’s to receive an electronic receipt, take advantage of a special promotion, or sign up for a newsletter.

But providing that email address can easily lead to a flood of annoying and unwanted email solicitations. In some instances, giving out your email address can lead to malicious spam and phishing attacks.

Dodoname puts an end to this privacy abuse.

Imagine going shopping with all your coupons and offers in one convenient app. Use Dodonames to register with your favorite stores or online merchants. The next time you go shopping the old-fashioned way, all your coupons are right there on your mobile device for merchants to scan at checkout. It’s the single best way to interact with any merchant or vendor to get the stuff you want – and only the stuff you want – without giving up your privacy and anonymity.

Early media reports peg the company as “one to watch in 2015” and we’re already getting some great user reviews on the App Store. Want to know what all the fuss is about? Download the app now!

President proposes privacy protection

Last year was a record year for data breaches globally; the U.S. government is not taking this fact lightly. This week, President Obama proposed legislation that would protect consumer privacy and demand disclosure from companies who fail to protect consumer data.

The proposed legislation has been subject to virtual reams of coverage, naturally, and there are proponents and detractors.

The pro side says:

Now, the government may step in, at least to ensure consumers are protected. President Obama on Monday proposed a new law called the Personal Data Notification and Protection Act, which would create a basic set of rules for how companies handle their customer information. It also would criminalize international trade in stolen personal identity information.

Aside from one specific rule that would require companies to notify customers within 30 days of the discovery of a data breach, there aren’t many other details available yet about Obama’s proposal. The president is expected to outline more specifics in his State of the Union speech next week.

In the mean time, tech industry executives and privacy advocates are excited at the prospect of a renewed effort to create a national standard. They say the bills that succeed are typically aimed at the government and how it handles information, rather than corporations.

Now that could change.

“This is a huge shot in the arm to a much-needed advancement for our legislative protections,” said Scott Talbott, who heads up government relations for the trade group Electronic Transactions Association. – From Cnet’s article, “Obama’s data-breach initiative has privacy advocates optimistic, cautious

The con side says:

But the reality is that even if implemented, the proposed legislation and other actions would likely do little to make American companies or individuals safer. The only real benefit is likely to be raising the overall awareness of online vulnerabilities, just as the TSA’s airport security rigmarole may not actually catch weapons or terrorists, but still makes it abundantly clear that aviation is a risky business that needs to be approached with appropriate caution. – From Network World’s article, “Unfortunately, Obama’s new cybersecurity measures won’t help much”

Only time will tell whether this gets passed into law and what impact it will have. In the meantime, savvy consumers can use tools like Dodoname to protect their privacy when interacting with merchants.

Zappos settles for data breach; AMResorts customers report unusual credit card activity

Another week, another slew of data breach news. After suffering a 2012 data breach, Zappos this week settled lawsuits about same, resulting in a modest payout and a commitment to do better in the future. Perhaps a future vision of what AMResorts may need to prepare for given news that consumers who used credit cards on that site reported unusual activity on their cards afterwards.

 

 

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The week in review: the FTC on IoT at CES, ringing in a new year of data breaches and phishing scams

The week in review: the FTC on IoT at CES, ringing in a new year of data breaches and phishing scams

In our weekly roundup, we draw your attention to selected news and articles that highlight issues relating to invasions of your online privacy and threats to the security of your personal data, including problems that Dodoname can help solve. This week, the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas highlighted the growing interest in privacy as well as the privacy impacts of the Internet of Things, ringing in the new year of data breaches, and new phishing schemes for a new year. For all our privacy, security and personal data related posts follow @MyDodoname on Twitter.

The FTC on IoT + CES = big privacy news

This week, technology companies big and small gathered in Las Vegas to tout their wares and reveal to consumers worldwide the next wave of consumer electronics. At the Consumer Electronics Show 2015, privacy was big news, both on the show floor and on the main stage.

The Internet of Things is a hot topic these days: from connected smoke alarms to intelligent refrigerators, futurists – and technology companies – are betting on the fact that soon most of our world will be connected to the Internet. This brave new world, however, has serious implications for consumer privacy.

The chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission gave a keynote address at CES this week highlighting the privacy and security implications of IoT, and her speech got a lot of coverage in both tech and mainstream media.

“Connected devices that provide increased convenience and improve health services are also collecting, transmitting, storing, and often sharing vast amounts of consumer data, some of it highly personal, thereby creating a number of privacy risks,” she said.

This creates an opportunity, of course, for technology companies to help solve those challenges, as evidenced by the small but mighty group of privacy-focused technology providers exhibiting on the CES show floor.

Brace for a busy year of data breaches

2014 was a remarkable year for data breaches, with seemingly no corner of the retail and consumer worlds untouched by the hand of hackers and poor security systems and policies. Well, I’ve got some bad news for you: experts are predicting that 2015 could be even worse. From the Sony hack that arguably touched off international cyberwar at a magnitude never before seen to financial institutions and retail giants suffering legal action and penalties as an unprecedented rate, these are just the tip of the iceberg for what could be about to unfold in 2015.

As Forbes reported in its harbinger of the data breach potential for 2015: “…a recent study found that more than 40% of companies experienced a data breach of some sort in the past year – four out of ten companies that maintain your credit card numbers, social security numbers, health information, and other personal information.  That number is staggering, and shows no signs of retreat.”

Fast food restaurant Chick-Fil-A (which has had troubles of a different sort in recent years based on its political and religious affiliations) has the dubious distinction of being the first reported data breach of 2015. Congratulations?

What’s good on Netflix? Not the phish. Try Friends instead.

Online streaming service Netflix has fallen victim to one of the first reported phishing scams of 2015. Netflix subscribers are being targeted with the old account verification phishing scheme. Some subscribers are reporting receiving notification that their payment has failed and that they need to log in to provide updated payment details. Let’s resolve to try and not fall victim to these sorts of tactics in 2015, shall we?

 

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Classic relationship marketing diminishes the privacy of the consumer

Classic relationship marketing diminishes the privacy of the consumer

By Michael Gaffney

Privacy research firm, Pew Research, in the “The Future of Privacy” reported that ‘Internet privacy is a fantasy’ and that 55 percent of the population don’t believe that a ‘privacy-rights infrastructure by 2025 that allows for business innovation and monetization while also offering individuals choices for protecting their personal information in easy-to-use formats’ is achievable. We all need to remember that the remaining 45 percent is still a very large number.

Most disruptive events, political, social or technological, come from a tiny percentage of the population evoking a cause or an entrepreneur creating something new and needed. Dr. Martin Luther King and Steve Jobs were but two people in that 45 percent determined to make a change and they were quite disruptive to say the least. The doom and gloom naysayers who write provocative headlines like ‘privacy is a fantasy’ should provide motivation for the 45 percent who are concerned about privacy.

Relationship marketing is a relatively new phenomenon. It evolved out of the 1960’s when consumers began to have more competitive product alternatives to choose from and where there was sustained demand for those products. Merchants had to change from being focusing on the economics of supply to focus on demand. The foundations of what came to be known as relationship marketing – customer recruitment, retention and satisfaction – became the dominant focus of marketers for the past 50 years.

However, relationship marketing has seriously diminished privacy of the consumer. Why? Because by definition a ‘relationship’ typically means some form of intimate knowledge of the other party – in this case the consumer. In marketing terms, it means that the merchant, to effectively market to a consumer, needs lots of information about that consumer. Consumer data is captured, typically without prior knowledge or consent, in a number of ways by merchants. Facebook, Google and other social media sites have only accelerated the loss of privacy. Moreover, corporate customer relationship management (CRM) systems appear to be failing regularly in terms of data breaches and CRM’s are the key repositories of customer information.

So, what are consumers to do given all the scraping of our private information and the data breaches from CRM’s? Privacy and security have been foundations of society as long as we humans have been on the planet. Privacy is complex. We want privacy from our governments; privacy from the prying eyes of the public – especially if you are famous; privacy and protection from the bad guys; and privacy and protection from the merchants that hound us. Dodoname was created to address privacy from merchants and other consumer to business transactions and help address the risk of your data being stolen in a data breach.

How does Dodoname resolve relationship marketing and the loss of privacy? First of all, we designed a system that starts with the consumer in control of their personal and private information. Second, we designed a system that does not even capture your private information – only personal information. What is the difference between private and personal information? Private information is your actual name, street address, telephone number, credit card and banking information. Personal information is your sex, age (not birth date), postal code, married/single, likes, hobbies, etc. At Dodoname, we call the collection of your personal information your Persona. Remember, your Persona never includes your private information. Marketers don’t really need your private information if they have your Persona information. Hackers can hack us all they want but they can’t get what we don’t have. Relationship marketing and its problems with privacy breaches is solved when Consumers use Dodonames and Merchants market to Dodonames.

(Image: Flickr, Bernard Goldbach, link)

 

 

 

 

 

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Digital identity = digital currency

Digital identity = digital currency

By Michael Gaffney

Your digital identity is currency. It can be monetized. In an increasingly complex digital society, one of the biggest challenges for businesses is how to capture that identity.

Currently, totally beyond the control of consumers, a myriad of technologies and companies are scraping data, watching online activity, phishing, and working tirelessly to reveal – sometimes even steal – your digital identity. Your “digital identity” is the sum of all the available information about you and is growing exponentially; at the same time, big data capabilities are keeping pace in an effort to analyze all this information, your information.

The evolution of digital identities is a concern for consumers and merchants alike. On the one hand, consumers are concerned about privacy and losing control over their personal data. On the other hand, companies are increasing worried about data breaches – be it their own or third-party applications and the effects on breaking the trusted relationship between merchants and consumers.

In February 2014, it was reported in Forbes that the cost of the data breach at Target was $61 million. Target cautioned investors, “At this time, the company is not able to estimate future expenses related to the data breach.” The breach at Target, resulting in the loss of tens of millions of digital identities has had a massive impact on value for its shareholders, not to mention consumer confidence.

It’s cold comfort for Target and the shoppers impacted that at least they’re not alone, as evidenced by this infographic of the World’s Biggest Data Breaches.

The growth rate for ecommerce far exceeds traditional economies, whose growth rates are flat to shrinking. Consumer trust is one of the cornerstones of commerce for a merchant, especially in this age of digital identities. The ecommerce world with its real-time availability, product reviews and ability to rapidly provide consumers with substitute products is a dangerous place for merchants who cannot generate trust in their products and their interactions with consumers. Protecting the digital identity of consumers is paramount to maintaining that trust.

Opt-out is considered standard practice – in fact it is legislated in many jurisdictions – as a way for consumers to control their private data. Opt-in is typically used when the data required is even more sensitive. Studies have shown that consumers want control of their data but there is juxtaposition against convenience.

Consumers are willing to share their data with private and public organizations – conditional upon privacy controls and sufficient currency benefits. Trust, plus deals that consumers like, will cause them to spend and invest in their digital identities for the merchant’s currency.

For merchants to engage the consumer – to cause them share their digital identity to unlock value – companies need to epitomize and communicate a new digital identity perspective of — responsibility, transparency and the consumer in control.

(Image: flickr, Alan O’Rourke, link)

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The privacy dilemma

The privacy dilemma

By Michael Gaffney

When it comes to privacy, the needs of consumers and those of merchants are, on the surface, opposing forces: merchants need detailed information about consumers for personalization while consumers desire control over their personal information and how it is used for marketing purposes. This is, in a nutshell, the privacy dilemma.

Merchants want to know as much as they can about consumers because that information guides and directs the kinds of products to build for consumers, the messaging around those products and increases the conversion rates of those marketed to. In a 3,000-channel world, the merchant is desperate to gather and use information to exactly target a single individual. This is called personalization. Personalization is the process of tailoring communications and product features to individual users’ characteristics or preferences.

Personalization requires detailed information about the consumer. Currently, most of this information is collected without the consumer’s permission. Consumers think that they have opted in to share only a ‘little bit’ of themselves – how little we know! The advent of single sign on (“SSO”) has increased convenience while dramatically increasing privacy invasions. Using your Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin account to sign into a service creates a security risk. Using SSO makes it easy for one site to show the consumer’s actions and activities to other websites.

Using SSO opens a window to your privacy. Identity management should be a critical concern of all consumers. Online reputation is becoming more and more important, for both the consumer and for the merchant. ‘Big data’ is upon us and having correct information about consumers has an increasing monetary value.

Consumer concern about privacy is well known to be the number one issue of online consumers but consumer behavior regarding privacy is often contradictory to that fact. We claim to worry about privacy but we willingly surrender personal information all the time without really understanding where it goes and how it will be used.

How do I protect my privacy and still get the things I want on the Internet? Use a Dodoname whenever you need to register with a merchant. Since a Dodoname is not connected to any private information, there is nothing to be leaked or hacked. The opt-in persona function is your personal ‘marketing avatar’ that merchants can research and review to send offers without invading consumer privacy. Thanks to Dodoname, the privacy dilemma is solved.

(Image: Flickr, Mosier J., link)

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This week in review: Cyber Monday sales and scams, the European Plan and the science behind tracking

This week in review: Cyber Monday sales and scams, the European Plan and the science behind tracking

By Don Dobson

In our weekly roundup, we draw your attention to selected news and articles that highlight issues relating to invasions of your online privacy and threats to the security of your personal data, including problems that Dodoname can help solve. Catching our attention this week were posts on Cyber Monday, ongoing privacy debates, including in Europe and the science behind who is tracking you. For all our privacy, security and personal data related posts follow @MyDodoname on Twitter.

Cyber Monday – sales and scams

Although figures vary quite widely depending on the source, a considerable fury of online sales was unleashed this week on Cyber Monday. ComScore reported U.S. sales of over $2 billion, a 17 percent increase over last year’s Cyber Monday, making this the “heaviest U.S. online spending day in history.” Predictably, this rush of e-commerce also captured the full attention of online bad actors. Researchers had already observed a “sharp increase” in phishing and spam activities against online shoppers and expect more to come into the holiday season. In a Politico article called “Hack Friday: Black Friday cybercrime is unstoppable,” Jay Healey, a former White House and financial sector official notes “Hunters are more likely to be out when there’s more prey to be hunted.” Bolstering that idea, reports on a study from security firm Imperva shows nearly half of all web application cyber-attacks target retailers. “This is largely due to the data that retail websites store – customer names, addresses, credit card details – which cyber criminals can use and sell in the cybercrime underworld,” said Amichai Shulman, chief technology officer at Imperva.

While email is still the prime vector for phishing, we were also reminded that social media is not immune to these threats riding the wave of a major online event such as Cyber Monday. Fake social media messages on platforms like Facebook attempted to hook unsuspecting shoppers looking for deals and discounts.

Privacy debates

Of course, we continue to monitor news and debates around how companies use your data to track your online activities for various advertising and marketing purposes. Indeed, providing a way to have both privacy and personalization is the raison d’être behind Dodoname. It’s fascinating to see the general public slowly becoming aware of the extent to which we are tracked. Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, the Chief Marketing Officer of BitTorrent, notes recent Pew research, saying it “overwhelmingly showed the burgeoning distrust users have harbored in putting their private information online.” His article, Why privacy is like the frog in the pot of boiling water, is descriptive of what has happened to all of us. Like the proverbial frog in the pot of water that is slowly increasing in temperature, we’ve paid little notice to the tracking and erosion of privacy. With the Pew study showing that ninety percent of adults agree that we’ve lost control of our personal data, the temperature is going to start to rise for business as well.

One way the market is responding to consumer concerns is through offers like Dodoname where privacy, rather than tracking, is central to the value proposition. Another prominent example is DuckDuckGo, a search engine that puts privacy first, rather than collecting data. Gabriel Weinberg founder of the company, speaking about privacy-based products in a Guardian Article notes “I don’t think it’s a fad. One of the big things people have noticed in the last year is the ads that follow them around the Internet and that’s perhaps the most visible notion of this new tracking mindset that most companies are adopting. Those trends are not disappearing. More tracking on the Internet, more surveillance, so I think as people find out about it they’re going to be wanting to opt out in some percentage.”

The European Plan

The European Union is ahead of North America in many regards concerning privacy, including evolving regulations concerning cookie use. We’ve previously reported on so-called super cookies and device fingerprinting used to track consumers across devices, including smartphones. A Guardian article this week Europe’s next privacy war is with websites silently tracking users, notes regulators have made it clear that companies cannot bypass cookies consent by using covert methods to track users through their devices. In the article, Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group says “Building profiles to deliver personalised content and adverts clearly falls under e-privacy and data protection law.” This regulator opinion on device fingerprinting techniques seems to pave the way for developing new legislation to govern their use and protect user privacy.

The science behind tracking you

The science behind tracking and the answer as to why techniques that track users across devices are being pursued by companies on both side of the Atlantic can be found in a MIT Technology Review article we shared this week: New Technology for Tracking Consumers Across Devices Grows Results.

Companies like Adometry are using probabilistic identification methods, to link smartphones to desktops accurately enough to justify ad placements. Drawbridge, of San Mateo, California, says it can “take anonymous signals from the device and do a kind of statistical space-time triangulation.” By performing the analysis over time, Drawbridge identifies clusters of devices and then figures out which are paired, providing confidence that they have the same user. The results provide marketers with data that is accurate enough for retargeting and attribution.

Still, we are just at the beginning of what marketers would like tracking to accomplish. As various vendors build their own technology and tech companies like Apple or Google seek dominance of their own proprietary methods, Adometry CEO, Casey Carey offers the opinion that Marketers need a new system to track customers across platforms.

Posted in: Blog, Data breach, Fraud, Phishing, Privacy, This week in review

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Millennials: generation privacy?

Millennials: generation privacy?

By Michael Gaffney

Sometimes called generation Y or millennials, this group is a digital native powerhouse that is rewriting how goods are sold and purchased. There’s no exact science to defining a generation, but researchers and marketers generally put people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s in this category.

Whereas the previous generation’s young people spent every waking moment at the shopping mall, millennials are speeding the online shopping revolution, eschewing brick and mortar retail to shop how, when and where they want, using the mobile and online tools that they’ve grown up with.

So, if these consumers are shopping online so frequently, collectively they must have an opinion on online privacy. Are millennials less concerned about privacy than older generations? Are they willing to share their personal information or cooperate with businesses online if there is an advantage for them such as a deal?

In truth, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Millennials think differently about privacy compared to older generations. ‘Millennial Rift’ is the term coined by researchers at the USC Annenburg Center for the Digital Future that refers to the differences in perceptions and value of privacy between the generations. Jeffrey Cole, in a 2013 survey, goes so far as to say that “Online privacy is dead – millennials understand that while older users have not adapted.”

I find Cole’s use of the word ‘dead’ a rather poor choice of words as the word dead is typically understood as lifeless and not coming back. Based on survey results in that same report (and similar findings elsewhere), I find it difficult to believe that millennials espouse that privacy is dead and not coming back. In fact the same study found that 70 percent of millennials agreed with the statement “No one should ever be allowed to have access to my personal data or web behavior,” compared to 77 percent of older generations. Doesn’t sound to me as though privacy isn’t valued by this group, instead, other data points would indicate that the giving up of personal data needs to be incentivized for this generation to participate. Millennials surveyed were much more likely to share personal data, such as location, in order to receive coupons or deals from nearby businesses.

Marketers need to better understand how millennials perceive privacy differently and how that information should impact digital marketing strategy. A strikingly different tone from the 2013 USC study was the 2014 study, ‘Millennials Care More about Privacy than any Other Generation,’ conducted by Contagious and Flamingo, two trends and insight consultancies. There were three key findings in that study: one, millennials are 28 percent more likely to switch products or services because of privacy concerns than the rest of the population; two, 54 percent of millennials in the U.S., and 48 percent in the U.K., have stopped using a product or service because they were worried about the way it was using their personal data; and three, millennials are more likely to pay a premium to protect their privacy.

If marketers want to attract and keep millennials as customers, they will have to balance that generation’s willingness to share information for deals or coupons that are relevant to them with both the conviction and actions necessary to protect that shared private information.

(Image: Flickr, Gonzalo Díaz Fornaro, link)

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