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Privacy, Please

Be Flexible

TicketsNow's policy is just one of many approaches to privacy. Be ready to adapt standards to your business and your customers. Privacy is obviously a bigger concern with certain kinds of companies, such as financial- services providers.

Some companies' customer information is more valuable as well. For instance, TicketsNow could easily sell member e-mail addresses to vendors hoping to e-mail special offers to customers. Kopsell opts not to. He points out, however, that his policy allows him to send e-mail to customers about companies hawking T-shirts, CDs, restaurant certificates and other related items-if members give their permission. "I left room for growth in our policy because I don't want to have to change it later," he explains.

Having a privacy policy doesn't mean abandoning the ability to use knowledge about customers. But it does mean respecting their right to privacy and treating them as Kopsell does: the way he would like to be treated online.

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This article was originally published in the September 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Privacy, Please.

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