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Modern society thrives on the connectedness that is offered by constantly evolving technology and the internet.  Many of the things that the average person takes for granted are powered by computers and the ability of these computers to network with each other.  However, at what point do security holes and information sharing begin to compromise personal privacy?   

 

 

 

CNNMoney.com and Business 2.0 recently published their 7th annual ���101 Dumbest Moments in Business��� report for 2006.  One of these moments which resonated with me was this blunder made by AOL:

 

In an ���attempt to reach out to the academic community with new
research tools,��� AOL releases the search queries of 657,000 users.
Though AOL insists that the data contains no personally
identifiable information, the New York Times and other news
outlets promptly identify a number of specific users, including
searcher No. 4417749, soon-to-be-ex-AOL-subscriber Thelma
Arnold of Lilburn, Ga., whose queries include ���womens underwear���
and ���dog that urinates on everything.���
The gaffe leads to the resignation of AOL���s chief technology officer
and a half-billion-dollar class-action lawsuit.

In a perfect world, search queries and other tech-actions of a personal nature would live the moment they are processed and then disappear forever.  Unfortunately, this is not the way technology works and pretty much everything done on a computer these days is recorded.  But if all our actions are to be recorded, then we should at least be able to take comfort in the fact that this data will not be disseminated to random third-party organizations.

 

 

 

While personal data is quickly becoming the currency of the realm and extremely valuable to a wide variety of companies and institutions, holding this type of personal data in confidence is mutually beneficial for all involved parties.

 

 

 

 

Consumer confidence is maintained when a feeling of security and trust is experienced.  Similarly, companies benefit from being trusted by their customers���trust that seems to be hard to come by for large companies these days.  Case-in-point: avoiding costly lawsuits and negative publicity such as those experienced by AOL.  I should patent this theory���C2: Eric���s Theory of Consumer-Company Relations!

 

 

 

It all comes down to trust.  A senior executive at IBM shared his thoughts with me on this topic: when making decisions or faced with internal issues, he noted that he would apply the ���Light of Day��� test to the situation.  How would customers, other companies, the general public, etc. respond if and when the decision, event, or situation saw the ���light of day.���  If AOL had applied this rule to their search query decision, they would have realized that sharing the personal data of over half a million users was not a good idea and avoided the negative situation that ensued.

 

 

 

However, mistakes can be productive learning experiences, and hopefully companies facing issues similar to those experienced at AOL will use this as a guide.  To quote Batman Begins (and reveal that I am a total nerd), ���And why do we fall?  So we can learn to pick ourselves up.���

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

-Eric

 

 

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As some of you may know, we have two monthly emails that we send out to our customers: a monthly promo email and a monthly feature highlight email.  The monthly promo is an email with offers ranging from discounts on PLUS to gifts from our partners for upgrading to PLUS.  The feature highlight is an informational email with the goal of helping our customers better utilize the features and tools available to them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just recently we sent out our January promotional email.   I felt compelled to share this with our blog community due to how great the email itself turned out as well as the awesome offer we were able to procure this month!

 

 

 

The first point I would like to address is the email itself.  A new designer (Alex) was recently hired to help out with our creative needs and holy cow has this made a difference!  Alex joined the creative team and took over the creative tasks which previously had no one really responsible for (I had been filling the void with my meager design skills).  Alex's latest work for eteamz, the January Promo Email, was absolutely tremendous and is viewable above.

 

 

 

The second point I wanted to touch on is the offer we were able to arrange for this month's promo email.   Shutterfly (an eteamz partner) gave us 1000 photo books to give away as a prize for upgrading to PLUS!  These photo books are really great and at a value of $30 a piece, a tremendous incentive for upgrading to PLUS!  You can check out the photo books here, and if you are interested in upgrading to PLUS, simply enter in the coupon code: SHUTTERFLY during the purchase process and a coupon code redeemable at Shutterfly will be emailed to you.  This offer expires 2/28/07, so don't wait until the last minute!

 

 

 

Regards,

 

 

 

-Eric

 

 

1,140 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: eric's-posts, sweet-deals

 

As I foretold in my last post, we released a new and improved process for creating an eteamz site. This new process makes it significantly faster and easier to get a new site up and running. Some specific features of this new process:

 

 

  • Sign in or create a new eteamz account all in one step

 

  • When creating a new account, get instant feedback on whether your chosen username is available

 

  • Instant feedback on availability of your new site URL

 

  • Easy to choose the right features for your site

 

Go ahead and give it a try! [Create a new eteamz site.|http://eteamz.active.com/company/sites/register] Let us know what you think of this process as we are always looking for ways to make it easier for you to get a great Web site for your team.

 

 

1,232 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: david's-posts, development

 

I came across a really cool site for adding a slideshow of images. I know how much you like to add images (especially slideshows) so I thought I would pass it along. It's very easy to use, you can add music, captions, change colors, etc. It took me about 10 minutes to create one. It gave me the necessary code which I copied and pasted into my Welcome folder for display on my site.

 

Check out my sample at http://eteamz.active.com/pageoffun.

 

You can create your own at http://www.rockyou.com/choose_widget.php.

 

 

 

Please note - I haven't seen any innapropriate content on that site but just be careful when visiting it just as you would any other sites.

 

 

1,588 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: ericha's-posts