Com and Get It

Private Eyes

Keeping Customer Information Private

Now that you're excited about gathering information on your customers, know this: It all has to be done gently, respectfully and cautiously. Web site snooping is a very sensitive topic these days-and odds are, sensitivities will only increase as more users realize exactly how detailed a trail they leave behind when visiting Web sites.

But there is a remedy, one that lets you gather the information you need while also reassuring visitors. It's simple: Develop a privacy policy, and post it on your site. Be clear, simple and direct. A good strategy is to say: "We never sell information that we collect about you to anybody." And if you offer visitors free sign-up to e-mail newsletters or sales notices, be quick to remove anybody who asks to be taken off your list of recipients-preferably on the very day you receive the request.

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This article was originally published in the December 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Com and Get It.

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