|02-19-2001, 07:47 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Arlington, TN
I saw this in the Wall Street Journal today.
Network Solutions Offers Its Database
Of Domain-Names to Marketing Firms
The Internet's phone book is up for sale -- and though the listings may represent a treasure trove for marketers, the move also risks a serious privacy backlash.
At issue are millions of entries in the domain-name database operated by the Network Solutions unit of VeriSign Inc., Mountain View, Calif. It is, essentially, the master address book for the Internet. Since the dawn of commerce on the Web, companies that want their own dot-com addresses have registered with Network Solutions.
Now Network Solutions is selling that information. "On your mark, get set, go!" gushes a recent advertisement in a newsletter for direct marketers. "Available for the first time ever. Approximately 6 million unique customers, sliced and diced for you to target prospects, learn about a specific audience or retain customers ... Take this information and run with it."
Exactly what's for sale may come as a surprise to many of the individuals and businesses who have registered Web addresses. In addition to names, street addresses, and other routine information gathered when someone signs up for a domain name, Network Solutions promises marketers information on whether sites are dormant or up and running, whether they're set up for e-commerce -- even whether a site has security precautions installed.
Network Solutions says that while the sales pitch is new, it actually has been quietly selling such data for at least a year. Now, the company says, it is moving more aggressively to cash in on the information. "It's old wine in new bottles," says Doug Wolford, general manager for Web presence at VeriSign.
Under its agreement with the U.S. government to operate the database, Network Solutions is required to provide public access to the data. Anyone can visit the Network Solutions site and look up information on Web addresses one by one. And indeed, some marketers -- especially those sending unsolicited "spam" e-mail -- have laboriously harvested information this way.
But for marketing purposes, it's much more useful to have a complete set of data outright. Network Solutions offers marketers this option -- for a price and under its guidelines, which include stripping out e-mail addresses and forbidding the use of the information for e-mail marketing.
Mr. Wolford says the data are typically used by companies that want to send direct postal mail to Web businesses or simply want to merge the data with existing lists to flesh out customer dossiers. Network Solutions also allows its customers to opt out of the list and takes steps to insure that only businesses, not consumers, are included in the marketing efforts.
While downplaying any privacy concerns, Network Solutions is telling marketers that its data are a great way to sell things, especially where small businesses are concerned. "Nobody offers a better snapshot of this hard-to-reach group ... over 80% of our customers are small businesses, representing every major small business category you could hope to reach," proclaims an information page at http://www.dotcom.com, the site Network Solutions uses to promote its data business.
|02-19-2001, 08:21 AM||#2|
Philosophical Computing Nutcase
Join Date: Sep 2000
Looks like all that time spent filling in compulsory free applications is about to pay off (for someone at least).
As useful as the net is, I have never liked the way it has transformed itself into a data gathering enterprise.
Domains are the first on the list, after all it is mostly company info. Whats next? Register with an ISP and condemn yourself to supplying this information technology (IT) with the data it needs (IT, it says what it means) is about information, it is not just about the dissemination of information for our own needs.
The world does indeed turn.
Log on and Log in, Big brother is watching us all. Don't believe that we can hide in our own obscurity, everything is available.
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