Watch out: Your private health app data may impact your credit report

Image result for Watch out: Your private health app data may impact your credit reportIt’s a sad fact of our late capitalist world that data is one of the hottest currencies. Every move you make online–and sometimes off, too!–is likely being tracked in some way and then sold to the highest bidder. New research shows that even health apps, which often store users’ most personal information, are also sharing the data they collect. To make matters worse, for many of these programs, it’s simply impossible to opt out.

The study was performed by a team of researchers in Australia, Canada, and the U.S., reports Gizmodo. They decided to download 24 of the most popular health-related apps on Android. For each app, the team made four fake profiles and each used the programs 14 times. On the 15th time, they slightly changed the information they provided to the apps and tracked if the network traffic changed. This way, the researchers were able to see if the apps shared the data change, as well as where they shared it.

The findings were depressing. Writes Gizmodo:

Overall, they found 79 percent of apps, including [popular apps Medscape, Ada, and Drugs.com], shared at least some user data outside of the app itself. While some of the unique entities that had access to the data used it to improve the app’s functions, like maintaining the cloud where data could be uploaded by users or handling error reports, others were likely using it to create tailored advertisements for other companies. When looking at these third parties, the researchers also found that many marketed their ability to bundle together user data and share it with fourth-party companies even further removed from the health industry, such as credit reporting agencies. And while this data is said to be made completely anonymous and de-identified, the authors found that certain companies were given enough data to easily piece together the identity of users if they wanted to.

Essentially, most of the apps were sharing the data users’ input in some capacity, and often that information was shared once again with another entity. Sometimes the data would be used for advertising, other times for something related to credit reporting. (According to the study, only one credit reporting agency had an agreement with a third party: Equifax. Of course, it’s not terribly comforting that the company had one of the largest hacks in recent memory.)


 

The sad part is that these findings aren’t terribly surprising, nor are they illegal. Most apps broker user data in some capacity. Usually they use it for marketing and advertising, yet, as the credit report agency example shows, the data could be shared with truly anyone for myriad purposes. While third parties claim to anonymize the data, it’s been repeatedly proven that it can easily be re-identified.

As for disclosure, the companies behind these apps likely tell users in legalese that they share data with third parties. Every app has a privacy policy, but they are usually designed so that people glaze over the words and reflexively click “accept.” Meanwhile, this study found that all of the apps that shared data made it impossible to opt out.

The two real lessons from studies like these are that users of digital health programs need to be vigilant with the programs they use. It’s possible to protect your data, but it takes a lot of homework. But most of all, there needs to be a heightened call to protect consumers from these predatory practices.

Today, we dig deeper into your health privacy as part of our series The Privacy Divide, and find that what you don’t know about your health data could make you sick.

[“source=fastcompany”]

Dentsu Impact bags creative mandate for Mobiistar in India

Vietnamese smartphone brand Mobiistar, which entered the Indian smartphone market in May this year, has recently awarded its creative duties to Dentsu Impact. Following a multi-agency pitch, Dentsu Impact has bagged the creative mandate for Mobiistar.

Aniruddha Deb & DOUBLE & # title=
Aniruddha Deb

Aniruddha Deb, chief marketing officer, Mobiistar says,”While we entered the country in May, we wanted to highlight our strong commitment towards the country by establishing ourselves more deeply into its ecosystem. Hence to reach out to the discerning smartphone consumers, we have roped in Dentsu Impact as the brand’s creative partner in India. The team at Dentsu Impact will work closely with the Mobiistar team for the offline launch strategy and the communication roll-out pan India. We are excited about the possibilities and are going to be quite aggressive in this extremely busy category.”

Commenting on the win, Amit Wadhwa, president, Dentsu Impact says, “We are excited to partner Mobiistar as this gives us the canvas to build this compelling brand in the Indian market. The category is extremely competitive, and it is not just about getting the right pulse of the market but also about getting the right handle on the mediums today.”

Dentsu Impact is going to be Mobiistar’s creative, communication strategy, advertising and branding partner. The agency will help Mobiistar in understanding the consumer’s mindset, behavior, motivations and triggers that will help the company make a mark in a cluttered smartphone category. The brand has planned multiple campaigns in the coming months and Dentsu Impact’s partnership will be key in rolling out integrated campaigns for new products.

Dentsu Impact is a creative agency of the Dentsu Aegis network that handles Maruti Suzuki, HT, Ikea, Carlsberg and the agency recently set up its Bangalore office as well.

[“source=ndtv”]

The Impact of Real Buyer Insights on Product Management and Marketing Decisions

If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.

– Jim Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape

Who or what is driving your product decisions?

If you’ve spent your career in product marketing/management in tech companies, you can relate to the above quote from the perspective of both mid-level and senior product marketing executives.

Up and coming product manager/marketers are regularly champions of features, or product positioning that face an uphill battle against the priorities of the Engineering team and the demands of the sales team – stemming from existing customer asks and the most recent competitive sales loss. Add on top of that the biases of a boss, and you’ve got to overcome a lot to bring about a change in emphasis (never mind direction).

product management

Making these directional and investment decisions isn’t actually any easier sitting in the product management/marketing leadership role. They need to make significant go-to-market investments almost weekly, while running an organization, mediating compelling and conflicting arguments from highly opinionated and smart groups – all while trying to listen to the customer. Just a few of the decisions that need to be made:

  • Which feature enhancements need to make the cut in the next release because of customer demand or competitive factors?
  • Which initiatives/project drivers MUST be on your site’s home page and which can be de-emphasized?
  • Are there market niches that are growing or that your company ignores that you could address with a different positioning or marketing campaign?
  • In sales collateral/training, what are the key competitor weaknesses to make sure the reps understand?

Buyer insight provides more clarity for decision-making – if you find the right sources 

Product and positioning decisions are never easy, but almost any internal debate can be swayed by quantifiable insight on buyer preferences and purchasing behavior. However, most companies struggle to bring relevant and accurate data to bear at the right time. Part of the reason is most of the easily available data has a significant bias problem, such as:

  • Insights from deals that your company has won or lost doesn’t reflect the perspective of buyers that were never part of your sales pipeline. TechTarget data shows that unless you are a major player, this is typically much greater than 50% of the market.
  • When you talk with prospects or customers (or getting data that is filtered by sales reps), you know you are not getting the complete story as they try to protect or promote key details that support their position.
  • Custom research efforts take time to kick off and are point in time. These approaches are a poor match for a market that is constantly changing and you must make decisions year-round.
  • Most industry research is written from the perspective of an experienced industry analyst who interprets broader trends or future looking insights furnished by suppliers. This is a very valuable part of understanding the market, but different than buyer data.

How TechTarget helps   

To help product management/marketing leaders find the right representative buyer insight, TechTarget Research has developed Deal ScoreCard. Deal ScoreCard describes how buyers for 20 different Cloud, Data Center, Storage and EUC markets perceive their needs, requirements and vendor opinions at the essential moments of their purchasing cycles, every quarter. Just a few of the insights that it delivers include:

  • Features, project initiatives, workloads – For a specific market, which specific factors (by each category) are most important in a product-market, which are trending up and down quarter over quarter and which are the major vendors in the market perceived to be weak or strong on.
  • What’s important at shortlist v. important at product evaluation – Which issues are most important as buyers shape their plans for a project (budget, product space, important vendors) v. which issues do they see as important when they are deep into rep discussions and technology evaluation. The difference between these moments leads to very different go-to-market investments.
  • Where are market leaders weak – Most challenger technology company strategies are built around a growing weakness or blind spot of a market leader. Deal ScoreCard goes to great lengths to quantify those blind spots.

You can see some of the foundational analyses of a Deal ScoreCard here. If you are interested in learning more about how the in-depth data in Deal ScoreCard can help your organization, please visit TechTarget.com/Research.

[“Source-techtarget”]

4 Ways Mobile Devices Impact Your Business and Marketing

4 Ways Mobile Devices Impact Your Business and Marketing

1.  Mobile devices have a smaller screen. This is painfully obvious, but have you designed for it? Mobile screens are changing e-mail messaging structures. I read an Infusionsoft report that highlighted this and implored customers to pay attention to the mobile screen. Dozens of others have followed suit. What will your customers see on a smaller screen? Is the subject line more important than ever because it is all they might see?

It is frequently stated that e-mail is dead due to mobile and social networks. E-mail is far from dead.  Although stats show that many people are migrating to social networks to communicate, consider the fact that Facebook recently decided to create an e-mail platform. Why? Because people need and want more than short updates and chat to communicate.  If you’re wondering what your e-mail might look like on a mobile device, Web-based service provider Email on Acid lets you test your e-mail as it will appear on many browsers and mobile devices.

The smaller mobile screen will also impact how a customer sees your website. Many mobile devices don’t allow or use Flash technology, so you have to think about that. It may be worth considering a mobile marketing platform instead. One of the top mobile site builders is mobiSiteGalore. Yes, it would be a pain to maintain two sites, but it could also be more cost effective.

2.  Location, location, location used to be the real estate world’s maxim, but should now be the marketing and small business owner’s maxim.  Location-based offers and services will change how customers engage in almost every way. Customers have the ability to be hyper-connected with their social networks.  You have only to look at Foursquare and Gowalla to get a glimpse of the power of location.

3.  Use of mobile apps is growing. Whether you know it or not, customers are scanning and comparison shopping, on the spot, in your retail store.  Search and search engine optimization are rapidly changing. On the Droid X I’m testing and will be reviewing here shortly, one of the top apps was a barcode scanner used via the smartphone camera.  Think of how you can tie mobile coupons to your offers.

I worked on a project in Japan years ago; in that country, I could use my cell phone to pay for an in-store purchase.  Japan leads U.S. mobile technology by five to 10 years and possibly Europe and other parts of Asia by one or two years.  Along with your Google Places (or Facebook Places) page, you can add a QR code (like a barcode) to your site, to your retail store window and your e-mails. The viewer or recipient can scan that code with a smartphone and receive a special offer or welcome message.  There are a few easy QR creation sites out there if you want to create a code for your site, e-mail or storefront.

4.  Text messaging still matters. Even with the growth of iPhones and Droid-powered smartphones, these are still only a slice of the mobile market. Millions of people are still engaging via text messaging and SMS platforms. Your customer will opt-in to text message (SMS) offers. You don’t have to wait for smartphone usage to completely dominate. Text is a favorite way consumers communicate, but is not used often enough as a way to market. Again, this isn’t spam, but permission-based marketing.

One of the best posts I’ve read about mobile marketing trends came from one of our contributors, Paul Rosenfeld of Fanminder. Granted, Paul is in the mobile marketing (SMS) space and has some bias, but he paints a fair picture from all I’ve seen and studied about mobile.  One important note from that post: “Gen Yers (18-29) say their phone is the most important device they own.” I would argue that other generations are saying the same thing.

If you want to get just a taste of the many mobile applications for small business, read my 19 Mobile Apps post.  What mobile apps are you using, developing, or researching?  Please share them here in the comments.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]