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Mon Oct 10 2011 08:16:40

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

By: Ina Steiner

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If you think back to 1995, most people had yet to make a purchase over the Internet - it was a big deal entering data into a website. Back then, I never would have believed the amount of information people now happily volunteer on websites: birth date, gender, religion, political persuasion, marital status. Nor could I have imagined that people would have no qualms about letting sites track them around the Internet and compile their preferences - and share those likes with their friends and colleagues.

Facebook seems to track our every move, knowing what we like to read and what retail sites we like to visit - though it seems it's always getting embroiled in controversy about how it does it, from Beacon to last week's controversy over tracking people even when they are signed out of Facebook.

Now PayPal is working on its Commerce Identity program that will compile our purchases and shopping behavior if we opt-in to the program. (See today's EcommerceBytes news story.) Amazon.com already does this for its customers, but PayPal proposes to do on sites across the web, staring with its own properties PayPal, Magento and GSI Commerce.

Online merchants will benefit by knowing more about shoppers who sign in to their sites using Commerce Identity, and buyers will have less friction in signing in to sites and paying for purchases. Retailers will also be able to target offers to visitors based on their profile and shopping habits - consumers will be able to store information in Commerce Identity such as their clothing sizes for added convenience.

What do you think of this new relaxed view on privacy? Do you like it when Amazon.com is accurate with its predictions of what you'll like, or do you find it creepy? Do you ever log in to websites using Facebook, AOL, or Microsoft's Windows Live ID? Do you want a "commerce identity" to make it easier for you when you shop across the web?




Comments (21) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

by: J

Mon Oct 10 09:19:30 2011

I have a medical disability, which prohibits driving. Rather then pay a taxi I do some shopping for items on Amazon, and Walmart.

I do not care for Amazon or Walmart compiling data, but in lieu of budget reasons I have no choice. I never click on an ad from Amazon or Walmart other then my order confirmation. Any others I delete.

I weigh the pros and cons of this along with the cost of taxi service, gas prices, and factor in the time spent by others willing to lend a helping hand.

By shopping amazon for some grocery needs and sundries, I am able to limit shopping for perishable items to once every 3 weeks. Maybe 4 if the taxi service is willing to stop for a minute to allow me to get some milk at a convenience store when coming home from work. Since I am a regular customer on a weekly basis some drivers don't mind stopping, but others do.

I have done little online shopping for  other things, and if possible would prefer going to a B&M store. I am not comfortable with shopping online, but have no choice at this point.



Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

by: smallmiracle

Mon Oct 10 09:55:12 2011

NO...don't need one more invasion of our privacy....

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Mon Oct 10 10:07:51 2011

Do young people have less concern over privacy issues than older people? And if so, why is that?

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

by: Harvey Foonman
Web Site

Mon Oct 10 10:16:26 2011

I relate accepting an eCommerce identity as status quo if you want to reside on the internet in any fashion; business or pleasure. Its a public place and needs to be monitored to keep it safe for all. Just as cameras on every corner help make public safety paramount.
You always have a choice however. Stay away or manage what goes out if you don;t like what is being made public.

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

by: Charlie W. This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Oct 10 10:17:37 2011

This type of tracking and data-sharing should never be the ''default'' setting. Instead, consumers should automatically have their accounts configured with settings that provide the HIGHEST level of privacy and LOWEST level of sharing.

When signing-up for a service, the initial setting should ALWAYS have the consumer ''opted-out'' of any tracking/sharing schemes. When a company adds new features or policy changes, they should ALWAYS assume that the consumer wants to be ''opted-out''.

It should be up to the business to EXPLICITLY *ASK US* whether we want to opt-in to the data sharing/tracking. They should FULLY EXPLAIN what they do, what information is gathered/shared, how they do it, why they do it, who get the information, when it's shared, why it's shared... and basically CONVINCE US that it's a benefit to us.

No doubt, many businesses will take the easy way and the default setting will be that we automatically ''opt-in'' the moment we sign up. They'll argue that the consumer has ''voluntarily'' opted-in when they agreed to the terms-of-service. Frankly, I think that type of ''opt-in'' scheme is dishonest.

When the provisions of a company's tracking/sharing scheme are well-hidden and cryptically-worded, then we consumers haven't TRULY opted-in! Instead, we've just accepted the default settings in good faith, without really understanding (or taking the time to understand) if or *how* our personal data is being shared... and of or *how* our habits are being tracked.

Unfortunately, most users incorrectly assume that their personal information is 100% private, and their browsing/shopping habits are private and anonymous... and it never occurs to them that they need to make a specific request to protect their privacy. Most trusting consumers don't think about these things. Most businesses know this, and use it to their full advantage.

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

by: FRED

Mon Oct 10 10:19:54 2011

Another way to make money. They sell the information to whomever.....You then have no control what they do with the information.

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

by: JoyfulA

Mon Oct 10 11:06:54 2011

No thanks. And no thanks to the camera on every corner, too.

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

by: Its getting to be too much

Mon Oct 10 11:47:32 2011

I have so much spam in my email box from tracking that its become a pain.
I made the mistake of opting into a''would you like info on deals in your area''. What a mistake!

As far as your question, Ina, I do feel that the younger generation is much less concerned over privacy. Just look at facebook.
It's an open diary. There seems to be a weird form of exhibitionism and narcissism going on as well as a need to be connected all of the time.
When my niece visits we can't have a conversation without it being interrupted by a text or a call.

She told me that it goes on like that in class until the teachers finally get fed up.

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

by: Rich

Mon Oct 10 12:17:39 2011

I like privacy and each time I lose privacy it leads me to do less on the internet.  Amazon compiling data is a turn off.  Young people are easy to push around these days and just do what they're told.  So young people are more likely to not care.  It's good to see a bit of fight left in them with the occupy wall street protests.  I also liked seeing young people at the early Tea Party rallies

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Mon Oct 10 12:33:12 2011

I'm of two minds about this. I don't like when ads follow me around the internet. It creeps me out when I search for a widget on one site and then see ads for that same widget on the unrelated sites I visit later.

On the other hand, I use other identity services like Disqus to set up an identity for use in commenting on various blogs. I like this because then I don't have to keep track of fifty logins and passwords. I don't like using Facebook for these kind of things because Facebook has a lot more private interactions and information and I don't want that tied in with my online shopping or commenting. I prefer to keep my interactions with my Facebook friends separate from my shopping, business, or blog activities. It's kind of like how they recommend you avoid talking politics or religion with people in order to avoid fights. I know my friends and family have widely varying views on things, so I prefer to keep mine to myself and only share them under other identities on appropriate forums. Life is much more pleasant that way :-)

As a merchant, I can see the benefit of collecting information across multiple sites for marketing purposes. It can be a fine line, though, between using that information responsibly and invading the privacy of the buyer.

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

by: dan

Mon Oct 10 13:34:07 2011

Identity?  eBay didn't even want Paypal to have an identity on their website in the early days.  eBay did everything they could to fight Paypal and then bought them.  And now these same executives have decided to go into the identity business because it helps themselves.  Make no mistake, this does not help anyone but them.  Do you need your local supermarket when you walk in the front Door to say "Welcome John, you purchased X Y and Z last week, would you like to purchase it again this week?"  You know who you are and what you purchased last week.  You do not need a reminder.  Their policies are a complete invasion of privacy.  

When leaving the Supermarket, I don't want their staff following me anywhere!

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

by: Gypsy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 10 14:35:15 2011

Just what we don't need! More junk, more invasion of privacy to guard against.

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Oct 10 15:08:29 2011

The new "more relaxed" view on privacy is one of the major reasons for the rise and proliferation of identity theft.

That corporations are, have been for years, and will continue to place tracking cookies (some of which can't be removed by ordinary spyware removal programs) on a machine I bought and paid for is nothing short of outrageous.

It's yet another symptom of the corporate takeover of our government. The FTC could put a stop to this overnight and our corporate sponsored Congress could pass anti spyware legislation.

How likely is this to happen in the New American Fascist state? Not bloody likely.

Secret cookies are also one of the reasons your ebay items stay hidden to mamy buyers.

When Amazon or ebay or any other corporation buys and maintains my personal computer is the day they have a right to put unwanted cookies on hard drives I use.

OCCUPY SAN JOSE.

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Mon Oct 10 17:23:39 2011

How delusional can Donna-Ho be to think that people actually ''Love'' a company like eBaal or would trust them with anything?  

There are camera in every bank and people continue to be robbed by banks.

OCCUPY SAN JOSE.

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

by: Et tu, Brute!

Mon Oct 10 19:20:22 2011

I believe there is a sense that there really is not a lot we can in reality do about this.

Yes, I know all the outraged, ''But you can...!''  But really, can you?  There doesn't see -- at this point in time -- to be a lot we can really do to prevent it.

I have a friend in her 70s who only looks a her banking online.  And files her taxes, online.  She thinks because she does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE online, she is safe.  Plus, she never uses her debit card at restaurants or to get gas.  She goes thru her bank drive thru and gets any cash she needs.  Or writes checks.  Still pays her bills by check and snail mail.

I've Googled her and the amount of accurate info on her, her worth, etc, is astounding.  

I haven't told her.  But considering her basic high level of caution, there doesn't seem to really be much we can do to prevent the world knowing often we do, well, anything...

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Mon Oct 10 20:08:13 2011

@Ina

Old people more weary.

Yes, that is an observation which strikes home.

As a ''baby boomer'' (now an old-people), perhaps I can add a perspective.

1. Growing up with parents who survived the Great Depression of the 1930s - their credo was ''keep it lean & mean'' - you never know what will happen next.

2. Growing up with parents who survived World War 2 - when the US was faced with an existential fate (not like to-day's ''terr-ist'' threats) - one saw how some governments would be a threat (the Axis Powers) - and at the same time - how governments were the salvation (New Deal - Lend Lease, etc).

This left the kid in a quandary - you know how governments treat people. Maybe it is wise to fly ''under the radar'' & not attract attention.

Cut to the '60s with the Hippie/counterculture/Vietnam movements where you didn't want an FBI file.

Back then information gathering was a labour intensive endeavour and it was possible to live a peaceful life without any perceived threat from the government or corporate America (outside of incessant commercials on TV).

So, with the ''computer revolution'' and ''information age'', corporate America (not to mention the NSA) is able to amass a fairly sizable profile on anybody who is plugged into the web.

Just do a search on Experian et al & see just what they have on you - and you were never consulted as to the veracity!

I'd submit that the younger folks are just plain ignorant of what can happen, what has happened, and what will happen potentially and just accepts their fate. Studies have suggested that the younger folks are woefully ignorant of history.

Then a'gin, flying under the radar and making information hard to come by is a great bargaining chip to Korporate AmeriKKKa - ask them for a buck or two for taking a ''satisfaction survey'' & see what happens.

Then again, at most surveys I respond to, I'm the 2000 year old trans-sexual, born again Druid, with an income of over 200K.

Garbage in, garbage out.

Peace

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

by: DataMinning

Tue Oct 11 04:12:30 2011

Commerce Identity means ''Profiling'' and that is dangerous because it tries to prejudge a persons future intentions on past acts. To do that you need data, when that data is not available you must fill in the gaps by making assumptions as to what the missing data might be. The bigger the profile the more data gaps. To accurately fill in those data gaps your best bet would be to hire psychics, mystics and fortune tellers.

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

by: Moonwishes
Web Site

Tue Oct 11 09:56:28 2011

I am part of Amazon's Vine reviewers and so they send me books or other items that I pick from a list monthly. I find it funny that after I have read and reviewed a book, they send me an ad to buy the book! Let's see I already read it and hated it why would I want to buy another copy? Depending on the other type of items I get to pick from, I then find I'm receiving ads for the same type of item even on my hotmail account. I ignore them. Amazons lists of things I should like is generally off the mark since I also get gifts for my boys and hubby which doesn't mean I like that type book. What I do like is the lists of books that others have bought on the same theme as one I might be buying. I love sewing books so seeing reccomendations of other sewing books I appreciate. So for me I take the good with the bad and make frequent use of the sweep and delete buttons on my email account.

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

by: somebody's watching me

Tue Oct 11 12:16:00 2011

Someone wrote a book on how our search queries and buys limit our information. He said using past search info google tailors the info we get?
I wanted to buy the book but can't remember who wrote it. Ebay uses this to show buyers what ebay  thinks they want from past buys.  So everyone else is screwed, including the  buyer who see's a limited view.
He is a writer from The Huffington post or The New republic. Politico?

Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?   Do You Need or Want a Commerce Identity?

by: Molly This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 11 19:06:54 2011

I really dislike the deep invasion of my privacy by corporate tracking of my use of the internet.  I think that is fundamentally unAmerican.  But what bothers me even more is the illogic of corporate America trying to pigeon hole me into certain shopping categories.  I don't want to be limited by targeted ads.  I have a very broad range of interests and I really want to know what's new in many categories.  By trying to squeeze my square peg into their round holes corporate America just loses many possible sales to me.  If I'm not allowed to see it, I wont' buy it.  
Also I really don't care what clothes, cars etc my friends are ''liking''.  We have very different tastes.  If I want their shopping advice I will ask them directly.  All this tracking and spying has gone completely out of control.  And it's very annoying.

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