ShopNow.com Leverages Privacy Issue Into Biz Deal

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Consumer and business-to-business company ShopNow.com Inc., announced a formidable strategic alliance this week with PrivaSeek Inc., a permission-oriented marketing services company.


The companies are jointly launching the PrivaSeek's branded Persona service, a consumer privacy monitoring and management solution, which will be made available to ShopNow.com's network of 6 million monthly visitors and 40,000 businesses. ShopNow.com, Seattle, said it also is making an unspecified equity investment in PrivaSeek, Broomfield, CO.


Although the deal is being spun as a way to help ShopNow customers gain control over their personal information, the agreement is clearly designed to heighten the appeal of the steadily growing personalized online shopping trend.


ShopNow.com chairman/CEO Dwayne Walker said PrivaSeek's marketing and privacy management solutions "will be pivotal to the growth of merchants and shoppers on the ShopNow Network as they reach highly targeted consumers and communicate with them [as customers]." He characterized the move as more than a business model enhancement. "Teaming with PrivaSeek is a core component toward our goal of maximizing the power of the Internet to offer a personalized shopping experience."


PrivaSeek, an infomediary, refers to its Persona service as "a set of identity and permission management tools that, for the first time, allow consumers and businesses to conveniently exchange and effectively manage consumer information, permissioning and control information usage online."


As a simple example of how the service works, ShopNow points to the multi-million dollar wedding and bridal services industry, which may well benefit from the company's new alliance. For instance, a young bride-to-be could conceivably incorporate into her Persona profile key information relating to her impending marriage ceremony, which, in turn, would eventually result in her receiving customized, content-rich information relating to marriage, honeymoons and special offers. The benefit for businesses, obviously, is the ability to create targeted campaigns based on consumer data.


"PrivaSeek's engagement with the ShopNow Network extends the use of our privacy and control tools and introduces our services to a large and active consumer base," said PrivaSeek founder/CEO Larry Lozon. "Additionally, we are becoming a partner of ShopNow.com through the ShopNow Syndication Program."


A recent Forrester Research report indicates many online consumers want access to personal information that companies keep on file about them.


Media Metrix recently ranked the ShopNow Network as the 17th overall e-commerce Web Network in terms of unique visitors for the five-week holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
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