Thursday, October 11, 2007

Data: Who Owns it?

Today's topic: Data Ownership.

I came across two very different articles about two very different situations today, both from "Technology News".

Article 1
: Discussion about ownership of prospect and customer data, especially as it relates to business-to-business sales and direct marketing. From the article titled: Who Really Owns Customer Data: "Ask CRM (customer relationship management) administrators about who owns the data populating their CRM systems, and you will likely get one of two emphatic answers: "my company" or "me." The article goes on to state that in this age where so much company info is available on the Internet, the data really isn't owned anymore by the company (or the database) or even by the sales rep anymore. A thick Rolodex really is no longer considered a competitive advantage.

Article 2: Virgin Mobile and the Case of the Nicked Pix (love that title, by the way!). This one reports on how a Dallas teens' photo posted to Flikr ended up appearing in an Australian ad for Virgin Mobile. The teenager is suing Virgin for the use of her image without her permission, or knowledge.

Two totally different discussions, but at the crux of both is this--data ownership. I think that they bring up a lot of questions that we direct marketers need to carefully consider:

  • Does the ultimate ownership of data belong to the individual?
  • If we compile and store data, do we figure out a way for individuals and/or businesses to change their information (as credit reporting agencies have to)?
  • What about the photo-sharing sites and other similar Web 2.0 services? Who is responsible for monitoring data access and use?
  • How do we ensure data privacy (especially for some of the new b2b Web 2.0 services that allow for group collaboration on business projects, all via a web service)?

These types of questions need to be addressed and as we move towards more and more data being readily available to consumers and businesses alike, we need to keep our eyes opened to possibilities of data theft and other 'bad' uses of data.

Interesting times, indeed!

No comments: