Geeks and Shrinks

May 6, 2008

Trust and information sharing

Filed under: Email list rental, Reputation — Tags: , , , , — rvenkate @ 12:09 pm

JP wrote about trust a short while ago, from the perspective of transmission of information, particularly when the ownership aspect isn’t clear. However, there’s another aspect of information ownership that wasn’t in scope for his post, which is that the trust relationship that he refers to also grants license to use that information only for specific purposes (which may or may not include transmission).

One example that comes to mind is the usage of email address information. Clearly, directly selling the contact information falls into the territory that JP referred to. However, what about the usage of that information without actually passing it on? For instance, many of our customers send advertisements to subscribers on behalf of third parties (aka “list rental”). They don’t pass the contact information on to those third parties; they just enable communications. It could go even further, combining all available information sources for more precise targeting.

The key is to remember that building a reputation is expensive in time, money, or both. Regardless of the legal contract (or absence thereof) under which the information is collected, the short-term gains of selling the information are usually small compared to the acquisition cost of new customers (or new employees, new suppliers, etc.) with a tarnished brand. Without considering both aspects, it’s not possible to determine the NPV of an initiative.


May 5, 2008


Filed under: Robocalling — Tags: , — rvenkate @ 1:08 pm

Seth Godin posted this a little over a year ago about robocalling, that “people will just ignore you if they choose to”. My wife has been plagued over the past few weeks with a robotic caller that won’t quit, and thanks to caller ID, she doesn’t even answer (to Seth’s point).

These days, it could even go further than that. There are services such as Grand Central that allow disposition of a call based on the caller ID, and the phone won’t even ring. Permission to communicate with a customer is not something to be treated lightly, and it is far easier to damage a reputation with perceived spam than it is to build it up with real customer value.

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