By Sean Wood
Special to YNOT
LONDON – Quite often the topic of data sharing and data ownership arises when companies take on new partners. It is a multi-faceted topic with no single answer as to the best approach, other than at all times businesses must remain within the legal framework designed to protect the personal data and privacy of consumers.
Consumer data is a bit of a hot potato when you get deeper into the subject. The reality is that businesses must use flameproof gloves when they handle consumer data, and the data must be secured within an environment that fulfills all the legal requirements in relation to data protection and online privacy.
The handling of consumer data is a huge responsibility and not one to be underestimated. Consumers own their personal information and give companies permission to use it, but the data must stay within defined parameters and consumers must be made aware of those parameters. Any companies storing and using personal data should ensure they have everything in place in order to avoid any potential legal issues or consumer backlash, as even when everything is kept within the legal framework, there are many other factors that can lead to problems for a data handler.
Is the data being held securely enough? What processes are in place to avoid “accidental” release of the data? Are there processes or resources in place to ensure delivery of offers to members without having your email servers blocked for spamming?
As an example: In the case of Dating Factory, it could be that a partner has other products and services they feel their dating site members could benefit from and they want to promote those to the members. This is something Dating Factory has factored into its platform, allowing partners to create email promotions and banners within a robust—and secure—environment that minimizes the risk marketers will be consigned to an internet “black hole.” Combining email delivery, offer broadcasting and ad serving gives a partial indication of how many points in the process present risks for data loss—and thus expense, aggravation and potential legal liability.
There are many other reasons why expert marketers may want to leave the data handling to someone who’s an expert in that realm. Conversely, data handlers probably shouldn’t get into the marketing business, either.
Even corporate giants like Facebook and Google have been caught up in data and privacy scandals. While they have the legal and professional resources to deal with those issues, we are pretty sure they would prefer not to have them on their workload in the first place.
As you make business-management decisions, focus on the things you do best and find business partners to handle everything else. Let someone else handle the hot potato.
Sean Wood is the vice president of business development for Dating Factory. Established in 2009, the company offers an international white-label dating platform that operates in 22 languages and supports 58 niche markets. The easy-to-use system provides the back end, customer database, technical and marketing support; affiliates provide branding and marketing.