May 15, 1998
AmEx: Transactional Data Won't Be Sold
The partnership American Express Travel Related Services Co. announced last week with KnowledgeBase Marketing does not involve the selling of demographic or transactional data of American Express cardholders. "We do not plan to provide KnowledgeBase with American Express card member information, and American Express does not sell or provide individual transaction information to any third party for marketing purposes,'' said AmEx spokeswoman Gail Wasserman. AmEx, New York, will serve as a liaison to help merchants that accept the card take advantage of the database and data warehousing services offered by KnowledgeBase, Chapel Hill, NC. "It's a way of KnowledgeBase getting leads to merchants that might want their database management services,'' Wasserman said. "We get some sort of benefit in two ways. One is the merchant sees us as a good business partner helping them build their business -- and if they decide to buy, we get some revenue from that.'' AmEx views the partnership as a way to provide a competitive advantage by helping its merchants gather information that will help them serve their customers better. Although some of those customers are AmEx cardholders, Wasserman stressed that none of that transactional information will be sold or shared with anyone. John Roberson, vice president of marketing and sales at KnowledgeBase, said his company adheres to the same standards on consumer privacy, information security and data integrity practices as AmEx. AmEx periodically investigates the needs of its merchant market base to determine what services might be valuable to them. In this case, it conducted a search and evaluation of database marketing firms on behalf of its merchants. KnowledgeBase can assist merchants in building a database or managing a database through the collection of the merchant's transactional information and data from external sources.