Mistakes were made

New York City meets Munich

Hard Sell

April 11th, 2002 · No Comments · Uncategorized

I definitely don’t Yahoo. Not any more. Previously, Yahoo had one choice about getting offers from them, and you choose to receive them, or choose to not receive them. Probably because most people choose to not get spam, Yahoo decided to invent more than dozen new categories to spam people with, including by postal mail and by phone. When they added these categories, instead of setting them to match the existing opt-in or opt-out flag, they defaulted all of them to “Please send me crap”.

I’ve removed what few Yahoo accounts I had, except for one, which has completely bogus information in it. I’ve decided in these days of diminished privacy, I need a “marketing identity,” a completely false but consistent set of information to be given out to people who don’t really need that data, but ask for it anyway. The advantage of being consistent is I can recall it for forgotten password queries and the like.

So, for all you marketers in my audience, I’m

Alex Shaffer

999 Goa Way

Yigo, GU (Guam) 96910

(671) 867-5309

The “999” was inspired by >Conny, in case you were wondering. Read it as “Nine! Nine! Nine!” with a German accent and you’ll get it.

From an article about Yahoo’s smooth move to sell out customers for quick buck was this tasty tidbit:

Truste, a nonprofit group financed by Internet companies that creates standards for privacy policies, agreed to endorse Yahoo’s move after an extended discussion with the company. “I would not call what Yahoo did `best practices,’ ” said Fran Maier, the group’s executive director. “To the extent possible, you would like companies to honor the preferences that were previously set by the users. But on the other hand, we don’t want to tell companies they can’t do something when their business strategy changes. We have to balance those things.”

I’ll translate this: “We here at Truste will rubber stamp anything any online business wants to do, because after all, they pay us.” And that is the rub of all auditing problems. Whether its Andersen or Truste, it’s the same problem. An auditor is usually a contractor of the entities it audits. For all of you people out there who are not self-employed, ask yourself this question: do you want to give your boss bad news especially when you might get fired over it?

Any type of oversight function which is funded by the entities it attempts to oversee will rapidly be co-opted. So no surprise Truste is more of an industry lapdog than a watchdog.

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