Angara offers an ASP-based service for targeting web site content to unidentified
visitors (see article, "Getting
Strangers to Take Your Candy"). The company buys online profile
data from other websites. These are data that users agree to provide in
exchange for receiving newsletters or other offers or are captured from
clickstreams by online advertising networks such as MatchLogic.
arrangement with the websites Angara gets to drop a cookie - but not any
data that might identify the user as an individual. When the user later
visits an Angara customer, Angara can provide segmentation information
such as age, sex, or geographic region. The customer's website uses the
segmentation information to serve targeted content to the visitor.
the case of data from ad agencies, Angara is given access to the cookies
dropped by the agencies. In both cases the data only identify broad characteristics
of the user, such as sex, interests and responses to categories of advertising.
The goal is to make first time visitors more likely to make purchases
or return to the site.
Perceptions specializes in analysis of existing customers. The company
sifts through data on the viewing and purchasing behavior of shoppers
and uses its conclusions to make recommendations for personalized offers
and targeted ads. Net Perceptions has chosen Angara to complement its
own offerings in its new ASP offering, called the Net Perceptions Personalization
Personalization Network will offer four "channels," each driven from databases
compiled by the network:
- The Intelligence
Channel provides analytic tools to let companies understand their website
- The Recommendation
Channel makes recommendations for cross-sells and up-sells based on
the behavior of previous visitors.
- The Customer
Acquisition Channel uses Angara's Converter product to target content
to first-time visitors.
- The E-Mail
Channel, a strategic partnership with Xchange, Inc., provides clients
with the ability to design and target consumer emails.
The move by eCRM firms to embrace ASP offerings is accelerating. In Angara's
case an ASP model is a necessity because of the dependence of their solution
upon the data they collect. Net Perceptions is one of the very first to
move an existing, successful suite to an ASP model. We expect that this
will encourage the expansion of the market.
thing that could hurt this market in the future is a privacy scare. Angara
has a good privacy model in that they never get to see information that
identifies individuals. One might argue that opting in to receive promotions
does not necessarily mean that you want to be identified to a service
that tells websites how to serve content to you, but given that the Web
is supported by advertising this seems to us like a minimal intrusion,
if it is one at all.
Perceptions takes no responsibility for the use its customers make of
their data; its official policy is "Net Perceptions encourages all of
its customers to adopt privacy standards of their own and make those standards
We believe that it should contain provisions that each ASP customer's
data will be kept isolated from all the other customers, and that data
collected through Net Perceptions' applications not become part of the
don't see data merging of this type to be a priori improper - that
would depend on the mechanics - but we feel certain that it would ignite
the concerns of privacy advocates and the public. Angara assures us that
there are in fact no plans for any such data merging.
For a small or mid-sized business an ASP solution can be a good way to
find out what various forms of eCRM can accomplish. First, we always urge
that companies moving into eCRM do some baseline studies so that they
can evaluate the actual improvement due to the new technology. (See "Predictive
Product Keeps Debtors' Prison Empty")
be aware that it isn't a trivial task, even with an ASP model, to get
personalization up and running. It could require major redesign of your
website to be able to make use of the information that these products
can deliver. Make sure you get an up-front estimate of the work involved
and a firm limit on what consulting services from the vendor will cost.