Marketers should be in driver's seat, not consumers: JupiterResearch analyst

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In the online marketing world, brands are constantly faced with e-mail fraud, phishing, identity theft and negative user-generated content threatening the good name of a brand.

Panelists at the keynote titled, "Secure Your Brand Online - Secure Your Future," address the fact that marketers need to become more aware of potential security issues affecting them on the Web. The panel was moderated by Lou Mastria, chief privacy officer and vice presidnet of public affairs at NextAction.

"With the birth of social media, a lot of marketers feel they have lost control and that customers are now in the driver's seat," said Patti Freeman-Evans, senior analyst retail industry at JupiterResearch. "They don't have to be. You [marketers] should be the ones driving and consumers should be like a navigation system, telling you where to go."

Phishing is also a common online scam. Brian Zwit, executive director of AOL consumer advocacy at AOL LLC, gave an example.

"I got an e-mail that said I should immediately sign into my Wells Fargo account and it even gave me the link," Mr. Zwit said. "I don't even have a Wells Fargo account.

"After clicking the link, I was navigated to the Wells Fargo Web site, only it wasn't the real site," he said. "It was an identical replica. It asked that I sign in, after which it asked for my credit card numbers, account numbers and even ATM pins."

Mr. Zwit's example is a classic example of phishing. He said that one determent of a scam is when you sense some sort of urgency. Like in the Wells Fargo example, the e-mail said Mr. Zwit had to sign into his account or else he would lose $95.

"You have to be prepared for these types of situations," Mr. Zwit said. "Wells Fargo's call center was probably swamped with complaining customers."

Blogs can also be a potential threat to one's brand, said Jim Nail, chief strategy and marketing officer at Cymfony.

Mr. Nail said that there are technologies out there that aggregate all the information on blogs having to do with your brand. This information reveals what people are saying about your brand online.

"The things people say about you online should be taken as constructive criticism," Mr. Nail said. "These people are not attacking you but instead are helping you to improve."

Ben Isaacson, privacy and compliance leader at Experian, said that marketers need to protect their domain names.

He said there is technology out there that can track people who arte registering your brand and then allows you to follow up and maybe even take down a phishing site before it even gets to your customers.

He said sub-domains are a good idea.

Ms. Freeman-Evans said that Jupiter conducted a study that found that the top concerns of users that impacts their usage of the Internet are viruses, identity theft, spyware, phishing and spam. Thirty-eight percent to 40 percent of online users are worried about these things.

Sixty-five percent of people purchase online at least once a year. The ones who don't purchase don't trust it'll be shipped on time, feel they will be spammed if they give out personal information or are afraid of identity theft.

AOL allows people to report spam. Mr. Zwit said that AOL gets about 5 million to 15 million reports a day. This has a big influence on consumer trust.

"You need a good e-mail policy in place before you start to e-mail," Mr. Zwit said. "Make sure you authenticate, decide how and when you will send and communicate this to your consumers."

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