January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Putting Online Shoppers In Control

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

Business-to-consumer and business-to-business e-commerce company ShopNow.com Inc., Seattle, has forged an alliance with PrivaSeek Inc., Broomfield, Colo., an "infomediary" and permissions-based marketing and privacy management solutions firm, to enhance the online consumer shopping experience by allowing consumers to control their personal information while they shop on the ShopNow Network. Additionally, ShopNow.com has made an unspecified equity investment in PrivaSeek.

These technologies will allow each consumer to create a ShopNow Persona to dictate how and where their personal information is used online, creating a personalized shopping environment that "shapes and molds" to consumer demands and interests. PrivaSeek and ShopNow.com are jointly launching Persona across the ShopNow Network of 6 million monthly visitors, 40,000 businesses and merchants and millions of products and services. Persona is PrivaSeek's set of identity and permission management tools that allow consumers and businesses to exchange and manage consumer information, permissioning and control information usage online.

Currently, a consumer's personal data is secured on individual sites, which dictate how the information is used, often with little concern about an individual's privacy, the companies say. Persona moves that power to consumers visiting the ShopNow Network, enabling a personalized shopping experience where consumers only see advertisements or special offers relevant to their interests or personal life events. For example, a consumer planning to get married could specify this information on his or her Persona and easily receive information and special offers relating to marriage and honeymoons. Businesses benefit from precision advertising, the companies say, by reaching only those consumers interested in their offers.

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