They May Be Watching Everything You Do
One of the neatest innovations in the supermarket industry was the introduction of loyalty rewards cards. Supermarket customers sign up for a loyalty card, and the supermarket gives them special discounts that aren’t available to regular customers when the card is swiped at the point of sale. Not only do these loyal customers save money, but they are also privy to special offers from the supermarket. Sounds like a great deal, right?
Well, the reason supermarkets and other businesses are so happy about these rewards programs is because of the fantastic data that comes along with their usage. When you use your rewards card, the supermarket knows how often you buy milk, when you buy beer, what brand of condoms you use (regular or magnums), and a troth of other valuable personal data that you would probably be reticent to share. When you think about it, this is kinda scary.
This same type of thing happens every day in the domain industry, too – although it might not be as obvious. When you do a Whois look-up, that information may be stored by the company where you searched. When you purchase an appraisal or use a free appraisal service, that data may be stored, too. Same goes for your accounts with your parking companies – they know how much traffic your names receive, which niche makes the most money, and which of your names is your biggest earner. Even when you complete a confidential sale using an escrow service, the buyer and seller data may be seen by the escrow company.
I haven’t heard of any cases where this power has been abused, but you should be very mindful of the potential wealth of data you are giving out by performing every day business tasks. You should be especially careful if the companies or principals of the companies can use the data for a competitive advantage. I am all for domain companies hiring people who are familiar with the domain industry and how domain investors think. However, with that comes the potential for privacy issues.
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