Safecount launched to improve transparency in digital data collection
1 August, 2007
Safecount™, a newly formed organization dedicated to improving transparency in digital media for consumers, publishers and researchers, announced its launch today. Backed by Kantar, WPP’s insight, information and consultancy arm, Safecount has developed a research platform (www.safecount.net), which aims to give consumers greater control of their interactions and which will be available to the entire research community. During introductory reviews by industry thought leaders, including those from TRUSTe and the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), Safecount’s research platform earned unalloyed support.
Helping Consumers Understand Cookies
The Safecount interface shows consumers not just where their cookies have been, but what information their cookies contain in direct easy-to-understand language supported by graphic illustrations. For consumers with detailed questions, there is a 24-hour 7-day toll-free number where they can speak directly to a Safecount service professional. Safecount anticipates that through increased data transparency, more consumers will feel comfortable participating in online and interactive surveys backed by the Safecount brand.
"This is an admirable effort to introduce a new level of transparency on cookies to the consumer," said Fran Maier, the Executive Director and President of the TRUSTe, one of the largest and best-known privacy organizations on the Web. "The cookie viewer on the Safecount Web site should give consumers who are concerned with what is contained in their cookies a new perspective while providing an opt-out mechanism. Web researchers will likely regard this as an extremely useful service."
"Advertisers are embracing digital platforms in part because of the accountability and measurement opportunities they provide, but this requires the collection and use of consumer data", said Tom Kelly, Safecount COO. "By increasing transparency and creating mechanisms that allow consumers to actually see and control the data collected from them, Safecount provides a trusted platform to help create a better digital data ecosystem for consumers, publishers, advertisers and the research industry at large."
In keeping with its research company-neutral approach, Safecount is forming digital data collection partnerships with other research companies.
"We have extensive R&D channels and have already begun applying our patented cookie-based ad indicator technology to the mobile market and can currently offer clients a tool for understanding mobile ad effectiveness," said Safecount’s Mr. Kelly. "Safecount will apply its advanced approaches in ad indication and recruitment to Online Video, Search, Podcasts, Streaming Radio, Blogs, RSS feeds and even kiosk advertising. As advertisers and researchers extend measurement to new platforms, Safecount will serve as a trusted partner in those new environments."
In addition to consumers enjoying improved privacy and transparency benefits, Safecount has also made live Web site data collection much easier for publishers by creating Veranda, a Web research recruitment platform that organizes patent pending "nodes" - hard-coded recruitment windows that publishers put directly on their sites. Major Web site publishers are using Veranda to manage all of their research in one place, regardless of the research partner, thus improving their research recruitment efficiency and improving the experience for their users.
"We’ve channelled input from about 100 major publishers to create Veranda in a way that is most useful to them. We hope to bring a new level of organization and understanding to live Website data collection so that consumers aren’t inundated with survey invite after invite now that there is a central platform providing a greater level of management and control", said Jeff Landi, Safecount Executive Director.
Safecount provides a simple, straightforward digital platform that enables advertisers, researchers and media companies to understand the effectiveness of online advertising and marketing programs. The platform also gives consumers far more information about their role in these programs more plainly than ever before through a unique "cookie viewer," the first of its kind. Safecount’s guiding principle is that consumers have a right to control and choose what information they share while online. We believe in being clear and transparent regarding our privacy practices, and we consider all Web visitors’ opinions to be very important. Safecount is committed to promoting respect for consumer privacy and consumer control in collaboration with online researchers, advertisers and publishers. For more information, please visit: www.safecount.net.