Post-transaction marketing scandal

Everyone in well aware of the brouhaha around post-transaction marketing in the online direct marketing space. Specifically, the three companies being raked over the coals: WebLoyalty, Vertrue/Adaptive and Affinion. Congress is involved now holding hearings on this (U.S. Senate Commerce committee). Clearly the three companies have helped dozens of retailers make hundreds of millions of dollars with this business model. One of the seemingly bigger issues is the disclosures or lack thereof. However, there are disclosures, often in multiple steps in the process.Are they obvious enough? The “big three” say they are (although they recently announced new, improved marketing practices).

Here is a quote from CNET on this:

Vertrue, Webloyalty, and Affinion generated more than $1.4 billion by “misleading” Web shoppers, said members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which called the hearing. Lawmakers saved their harshest rebuke for Web retailers that accepted big money–a combined sum of $792 million–to share their customers’ credit-card information with the marketers.

As a direct marketer, I want to hear from anyone else out there, preferably those in this industry. What are your thoughts on this practice–love it, hate it? Have opinions on the disclosure practices? Has PTM worked well for you and your clients (i.e. big $)? Will the Senate hearings, and any resulting blowback, significantly harm the financial results of the Big Three?

Please leave a comment, anonymous if you prefer (no one reading this blog will know who you are if you leave it anonymously). Don’t hold back!


1 comment so far

  1. John Thompson on

    Not sure if this is related but I heard that Affinion had some layoffs in November timeframe. Wonder if the expected loss of revenue from these deals forced them to cut costs proactively. We won’t know until affinion announced next quarterly earnings.

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