Sharing customer data with third parties –companies should think about it

sharing dataI received the following email from Pinterest this past Monday –

Hi there,

Soon, we’ll launch buyable Pins to U.S. Pinners on iPhone and iPad. Today, we’re rolling out a few updates to our Privacy Policy to help you understand how these buyable Pins will work. Here’s a quick look at those updates.

  1. When you buy something on Pinterest, you’ll need to share some payment and contact info with us so that we can complete your order. We’ll save this info so you don’t have to type it in next time you make a purchase. We’ll also share this info with the seller, and they’ll treat it as if you bought from their website directly.
  1. We also hope to make Promoted Pins even more relevant and useful to Pinners like you. For example, if you purchased a camping tent on Pinterest, we may show you Promoted Pins for other outdoorsy products.

If you don’t want your purchases to be used to customize Pinterest, just go to “Order history” from your account settings and swipe to hide your purchases.

To see these updates, visit our Privacy Policy. To learn more about buyable Pins, check out our Help Center.

The Pinterest Team

Points off Pinterest for not at least writing, “Hi Mark, (instead of Hi there), but aside from that I saw this as a good clear explanation of Pinterest’s policy with regard to data collection and usage and how users can make changes.

If had you received this email from Pinterest (as a user) would you have been offended? I think not. And yet read it clearly. Pinterest is offering that in order to make your experience easier when purchasing a pinned product, they will keep your card data AND share it with the seller. Additionally Pinterest might share offers for other products based on your past buying behavior.

People like to think that they want ALL of their data to be protected and not shared. But what people really want is the ability to understand and then manage how their data is collected and shared.

That same day an article in the New York TimesWhen a Company Is Put Up for Sale, in Many Cases, Your Personal Data Is, Too” Natasha Singer and Jeremy B. Merrill, reported that companies like Hulu that declare that it “respects your privacy”, might not do so if the company is ever sold or goes bankrupt. In fact of the top 99 websites (as ranked by, with English language terms of service or privacy, 85 said they might transfer users’ information if a merger, acquisition, bankruptcy, asset sale or some other transaction occurred.

This is disturbing since undoubtedly customers have no idea that this possibility is even remotely possible!   This is far from being a best practice as I am sure you would agree.

Customer privacy in general and protection of sensitive customer data has to be a baseline corporate policy.   However I offer this advice to companies that have a blanket “we don’t share your data with anyone, anytime, anywhere” policy. If you are truly adhering to this policy (and it would never be stated as such after the lawyers got through with it), you are missing opportunities to create a better customer experience as well as increase the bottom line.

There’s value in your customer transactional data. If a company clearly indicates its policy (and adheres to it), with regard to collection and storage of transactional data, and gives the customer an opportunity to modify its default preferences, that company is giving up more than it probably realizes.

Wouldn’t it be advisable to better understand what value is being forsaken when you have having a privacy policy in which you do not share customer data?




About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
This entry was posted in Best business practices, Consumer Behavior, Data driven marketing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Sharing customer data with third parties –companies should think about it

  1. Nader Ashway says:

    Very good post here, Mark. It appears that great minds think alike! Ha! Really insightful uncovering of the data being sold in a corporate merger or acquisition — I’m sure lots of people do not know this. But I wonder if it would change behavior? Nah!


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