Thursday, May 26, 2011

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Eloqua, a provider of revenue performance management solutions, has released new features that help marketers comply with the European Union’s new Web and email tracking regulations. The legislation, which takes effect today, impacts every marketer or retailer that interacts electronically with customers and prospects based in the 28 countries that comprise the European Union.

Under an added amendment to the existing EU privacy directive, organizations conducting online marketing campaigns in the member states must now receive explicit permission, or opt-in consent, to track any individual's actions online, including the use of cookies or other means. Depending on the country, they might also need permission before sending marketing materials via email.

Marketers, e-retailers, and others that rely on such information can get consent in a number of ways. They can, for example, post a click-box on their Web sites, request site visitors to fill out a form that pops up on screen when they visit a site, or ask customers to set their browsers to accept or reject cookies from the sites they visit.

"This is different than in the U.S.," explains Dennis Dayman, chief privacy and security officer at Eloqua. "In the U.S., you have to opt out. There, you have to opt in."

The new European laws will impact multinational corporations the most, according to Dayman. "If a company is headquartered in the U.S., the laws do not apply, but if it has subsidiaries in other countries, it could be affected," he says.

What's definite, though, is that the new regulations will affect how companies do business in Europe. "It adds more complexity to CRM practices and could hinder a company's ability to understand who its customer is," Dayman says.

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