Is Facebook Influencing Oath Inc’s Privacy Terms

Reactions from Facebook’s congressional hearings have ranged from bemused to downright terrified. Yet while the hearings were going on, other companies were in the process of changing their own privacy terms.  From Yahoo to AOL, new privacy terms further detail how the company collects data from its users.

A New Eye On Privacy

Privacy policies are nothing new, nor are the elements that make some of those policies seem less than ideal for the consumer. It’s only now the virtual world is taking a closer look thanks to the trials and tribulations of Facebook. And it’s not just their stock that’s gone down in the public eye; everyone is wondering just how much of their information is out there, and what other companies the general public should be keeping an eye on.

Oath Inc.

One of the companies now in the spotlight is Oath Inc., a subsidiary of Verizon. Verizon is already a well-known company. But in 2017, Verizon placed AOL and the newly acquired Yahoo! under the Oath umbrella. This means that HuffPost, MapQuest, and Tech Crunch (subsidiaries of AOL) as well as Flickr, Tumblr, and Yahoo! Mail (subsidiaries of Yahoo!) could be affected.
 

What the New Policies State

Oath’s new privacy terms  focus on a few key points.  Oath states they make “educated guesses about your interests based on your activity on Oath’s brands, websites, apps, products, services or technologies.”
 
These automated systems pull in the information you’re looking up or the places you’re engaging with including “sent,” “received,” and “stored, including communications content from [Oath-related brands]” synced with your account. These places include but are not limited to:
  • Mail
  • instant messages
  • SMS messages
  • “information financial institutions are allowed to send over email”
  • “all photos and other content uploaded to your account.”

All of this is done in the name of advertisement targeting.

What It Means

If you’ve ever looked up baby shower gifts then suddenly been bombarded by everything from strollers to breast pumps, you have an innate understanding of targeted advertising. Oath’s automated systems create an environment where even if that surprise baby shower was a secret, it’s certainly not a secret when it comes to advertising.

 
That being said, there are a few caveats to how Oath uses your data. For one, Oath insists messages are only shared with people you want. But, as it states in their privacy terms, Oath may “anonymously or pseudonymously share specific objects from a message with a 3rd party.” And yes, if you have Yahoo Mail, the company “respects your choice to opt out of interest-based ads.”

Fear Not The Zuck

While congress and the media  fanatically “expose” Facebook (which DOES NOT SHARE IT’S CUSTOMER DATA WITH 3RD PARTIES) it seems that Oath is taking advantage of a little misdirection.  Then again, these emails services are FREE.  Don’t like it?  Don’t use free email services.

Keep Up To Date

If there’s one thing that never changes, it’s just how much things change over time. With a greater focus on privacy issues, chances are likely that we will see a shift in privacy terms and the politics that guide them.
 
At ReviewInc, we value your privacy. That is why ReviewInc is independently certified by HIPAAMart to be HIPAA compliant. ReviewInc also maintains a strict privacy policy. If ever there’s a concern about privacy or how this can effect reputation management, look no further than a ReviewInc expert.

Want more information? Interested in a free consultation with an expert? Click below!

Best Advertising Channel 2018

In the last five years, ReviewInc conducted several studies of over 15,000 U.S. Consumers asking what they seek out most before selecting a business, service or product. Now, with five years of data, the answer is clear: Review Sites are the most critical to the purchase decision.

The study asked consumers to provide only one answer to the following simple question:
When choosing a service or professional (such as a doctor, mechanic, plumber, attorney, etc.) what is most important?

Each respondent was provided with a multiple choice list from which they could only choose one answer. While multiple answers could have been allowed, ReviewInc wanted a more discerning answer so that it could pinpoint what was most influential to the consumer.  This method has been applied to all the surveys form 2013 through 2018.

The Five Year Trend

In this year’s result, Review Sites again topped the list for the most influential component. This is followed by a company’s website (as in previous years). What was more interesting was the year over year trend. The importance of review sites continued to increase by a factor of over 19% from 2014. The company website‘s influence remained steady within the margin of error which could account for the very slight decline. The influence of the traditional yellow pages continued declined, albeit slower than anticipated. Online advertising also appears to have remained stable compared to last year.  The “Other” category gained the most presumably from the use of personal interactions on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Females Versus Males

In the last 3 years, females outpaced males in choosing review sites as their most influential source. This is beneficial for businesses engaged in reputation management as global spending by women is estimated to be a whopping $18 Trillion in 20181.  Considering that females tend to spend more than males, businesses should pay closer attention to their reviews. More specifically, Baby Boomer women are undermarketed2 but spend the most time choosing to look at review sites, an undeveloped “gold mine” for businesses maintaining their reputation online.

The Generation Gap

Some age groups displayed a significant increase in preference for Review Sites while other age groups decreased. Of particular interest was the more affluent generations (ages 45 and up) showed a significant increase in the choice of Review Sites.  

The younger age groups exhibit a decline due to a variety of factors that created a different economic environment for a generation fairly recent to adulthood. While the younger portion of the millennial generation is still paying for education, the older part of the generation is still in debt; while spending increases with things like homes and starting family, the baby boom of 1987 placed the crux of Millennials in or just leaving university during the Great Recession (between 2008-2009).

What’s more is the amount and use of income has changed. According to Morgan Stanley3, from 2005 to 2012, the average amount of student debt has near doubled from over $13,000 to over $24,000, leaving the majority of a generation in debt. Previous generations had more disposable income, spending far more on dining and entertainment. Millennials and some of Generation X is still fighting their way through debt; according to Mother Jones6, Millennials spent only 81% of their income, a 10% decrease from the Reagan era.

As the younger generations are in fact more cautious about their spending, and may  turn to social media and friends more than the review sites themselves. Long gone is the need for linear marketing techniques. What newer generations want is a conversation, and review sites built by Generation X and Millennials alike have to find a way to meet this new need for engagement. This is especially the case as the Millennial generation reaches their peak consumption years.  This underscores the importance of Responding to Reviews on popular sites such as Google Maps and Facebook.

The Older Generations

While Millennials and Gen-Xers are in their peak consumption years, According to AARP’s Venture Capital Review4, Baby Boomers (ages 53 and over) by far spend the most across all product categories, and their spending will only increase over the next 20 years due to retirement, health care, and their high discretionary income.

This is reflected in the age groups that choose reviews on review sites like Google Facebook, and Yelp. In great contrast to 2017, 2018 is illustrating that those over the age of 45 are more likely to use review sites than those under the age of 44. As 70 % of the disposable income5 is controlled by Baby Boomers and the older generations are choosing to spend their time on review sites, reputation management becomes an even more integral part of maintaining businesses both on and offline.

Decline of Yellow Pages

Speaking of the traditional yellow pages, we can readily observe the difference between this year’s survey results and those of 2014. Interest and preference in using the traditional yellow pages are down by around 40% from only three years ago. The decline is most apparent, again, in the older generations.   Our only surprise here is that it is taking longer for the traditional paper-based Yellow Pages to decline in usage.

What’s the Takeaway?

  • The importance and influence of Online Reviews is critical to your business (much more than your website)
  • If you’re neglecting the investment in your online reputation, you could be missing out on big revenue growth opportunities.
  • Make sure your reputation management solution integrates and leverages social media.
  • Make sure to respond to reviews and create a “conversation” especially if you serve those under the age of 35.

Interested in a free consultation on how to improve your online reviews and overall reputation management? Give us a call at 877-973-8439 or email us at info@reviewinc.com to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

 

References

  1. Source: Forbes “Want A Piece Of The 18 Trillion Dollar Female Economy? Start With Gender Bias”
  2. Source: American Marketing Association “Baby Boomer Women Remain Invisible to Marketers”
  3. Source: Morgan Stanley “Generations Change How Spending is Trending”
  4. Source: AARP Venture Capital Review Issue 29
  5. Source: Nielson: Introducing Boomers, Marketing’s Most Valuable Generation
  6. Source: Mother Jones “What Do Millennials Spend All Their Money On?”

 

Honoring the Victims and Families of 9/11

39695485_m Freedom Tower

Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.

– Ralph Marston
American Writer

Knowing Facebook’s Rules Can Improve Your Business

27688046 - word cloud with terms and conditions related tags

These days, there are standards for everything. Facebook, for instance, has their own set of community standards and terms of use. These standards are there to protect the consumer and the business. In many ways, it’s intended to police the consumer, putting the kibosh on hate speech and trolling. Luckily, it is to the benefit of business owners and social media managers alike.

Where to Find Facebook’s Regulations

Facebook’s Community Standards page is a catch-all for everyone who uses the site. They keep things pretty simple. Don’t sell or trade drugs. Encourage respectful behavior. And respect the intellectual, individual, and property rights. While it’s laid out plainly, the Community Standards page does not go deep into detail.

As a business owner or social media guru, what you want is the Terms of Service page. Keep this link in your back pocket. After all, you do not want to be searching for it through roundabouts on the Facebook pages when you need it most.

The Golden Rule Applies

Now that you know your own rights, you’re probably wondering how this can help you as a business owner. Your best bet is looking at the Terms of Service page. The first thing you should take a look at is section 3, labeled “Safety.” Here, it shows you cannot do anything illicit, but neither can anyone else. A person cannot intimidate, harass, or bullying a business. Inversely, a business engaging in this behavior spells disaster for a business’s Facebook page.

That said it isn’t always a simple case of bullying. Creating a false account can be grounds for expulsion from the website. Located in section 4, Registration and Account Security, it says that anyone falsifying their personal information in Facebook is against Facebook’s terms of use. And in section 5, Protecting Other People’s Rights, it says repeatedly infringing or violating someone’s rights or the law could spell expulsion from the website.

The Warning Label to be Aware of

After you read through the Terms of Service page, you may be a bit nervous about one thing in particular. Here it is in legalese:

“[…] you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless you’re content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

You may own what you post on your pages, but Facebook has the right to do anything they please with your posts. As far as adhesion contracts go, this may be scary when it comes to intellectual property. Even so, Facebook protects its users when others use your logo or brand name without your permission.

The part that makes this interesting is how you can use other people’s information. If this applies to you as a business owner, what about original posts by your customers such as reviews?

Sensitive Information

It’s also important for businesses not to post their customer’s information or take any kind of property. Facebook dictates you need consent if you collect information from your customers. This is especially the case for things like comments or user reviews. Say you want testimonials on your website. According to Facebook, you have to do three things. First, you need consent from the customer. Next, you need to make it clear that you and not Facebook is the recipient of the information. And last, you also need to give customers your business’s privacy policy so they know that you will not post their personal information or document.

What This Means for Your Reviews

Sometimes understanding Facebook’s rules is difficult as a business owner. This is especially the case with their terms of service and their online reviews. But, once you have that knowledge under your belt, you’ll be able to navigate Facebook even better. What’s more is your business is more likely to succeed in the world of social media.

This article is just our interpretation of Facebook’s terms and should not be relied upon as official legal interpretation. It’s a good idea to consult an attorney for clarification and how these terms apply specifically to your business and its needs.

If you have any more questions about Facebook, improving your online reviews, or reputation management, we offer free consultations. Call ReviewInc at 877-973-8439, leave ReviewInc your contact information or email ReviewInc at info@reviewinc.com to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Facebook Usage Hit By Post-Election Blues

Dethroned

President Trump is well known for using social media during and after his campaign. The banter on social media certainly hit a peak right up to the election. But something has changed. Most Facebook users have noticed a significant increase in strong opinions posted on facebook by friends and media outlets. How much has this impacted usage on Facebook? ReviewInc conducted two surveys in late January 2017 and the results were shocking.

The survey of 2,002 U.S. Consumers asked them about their use Post-Election Facebook usage. The survey showed that more users use Facebook less than those that used it more including 5.7% that stopped using Facebook altogether.
Facebook Usage After Election 2017

In contrast, ReviewInc conducted a survey about Facebook usage and asked users to quantify the amount of time they actually use Facebook daily. Based on ReviewInc’s 2016 survey, a significant increase was observed in 2016 over 2015.  At that time, ReviewInc declared Facebook the new King of Review Sites (see Facebook Usage 2016 article for more details), but the 2017 results paint a very different picture. Consistent with the post-election usage survey, usage was also down.  The trend did not continue from 2016.FacebookUsage2017Why the decline? Perhaps users are fed up with offensive news stories or postings by their friends. But, Facebook’s other properties including Instagram and WhatsApp (not to mention International Facebook Users), could still help Facebook’s overall social media volume. It is likely that this is just a bump in the road for Facebook. Eventually, users will likely flock back to the social network powerhouse when new issues arise and especially with all the new features Facebook plans to develop.

And now for our gratuitous but necessary plug:

Most businesses find it difficult to engage every customer in a consistent process. Utilizing a feedback and review management system, such as ReviewInc, is the best way to automate and measure feedback.

Interested in a free consultation on how to improve your online reviews and overall reputation management? Call ReviewInc at 877-973-8439, leave ReviewInc your contact information or email ReviewInc at info@reviewinc.com to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.