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Wickr, the James Bond of online privacy


If you’re like me, when you get sensitive information via snail mail, that you’re finished using, you shred it.  But what about receiving sensitive information via email?  We all know that it’s impossible to delete information from the Internet.

Enter Wickr.

A new mobile application for Apple devices called Wickr lets people exchange files and messages without leaving digital traces that could be examined by law enforcement or cyberspies.

Wickr, released on Wednesday, addresses the raft of privacy concerns that arise when a person sends a sensitive message: email providers, ISPs, mobile phone companies and social networking sites all retain detailed records of activity on their networks.

(CIO – Wickr, a Mobile Privacy Application, Sweeps Digital Crumbs Away)

Wickr’s mission:

…to provide secure communications that Leave No Trace. People are being tracked online and their information is being sold in ways they do not understand by numerous governments and corporations throughout the world. Your private communications are worth money. Online communications should be untraceable by default.

(Wickr – About)

Robert Statica, an information technology professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology, who cofounded Wickr with Nico Sell, Christopher Howell and Kara Coppa, describes how the idea for the company came about:

“This began when we were sitting around in a cafe in San Francisco, talking about Anthony Weiner and laughing,” adds Statica. “But the more we spoke about it, the more we began to think seriously about this problem.” And the tool they came up with, Statica says, is meant to go beyond mere “sexting” or gossip to corporate or medical environments, any situation where the most secure record of communications is no record at all.

(Forbes – Wickr Lets Your iPhone Send Both Encrypted And Self-Destructing Messages)

Senders of a message or photo can set a self-destruct time for the data ranging from a few seconds to six days in the free version of Wickr. As soon as the recipient who has Wickr installed opens the message, the countdown begins.

“No matter what can do, you cannot stop the clock,” said Robert Statica.

…The only real way to see something sent to a Wickr user would be to steal the person’s phone. Even then, five wrong attempts at the password will cause Wickr to erase itself.

(CIO – Wickr, a Mobile Privacy Application, Sweeps Digital Crumbs Away)

I wonder how this app will affect social media, especially with the latest news that GM is apparently considering to return to Facebook advertising.  Time will tell.

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Filed under: Business, Marketing, Social Media, Tech, World, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

QR codes are so yesterday…


I think QR codes were innovative at first glance, but now… they’re just an eyesore.

Flipping through a magazine, you see these really fantastic print ads, and then to the far left or right, there’s this:

Well, apparently I’m not the only one…

bieMEDIA, an online marketing and media solutions company, is predicting the end of the QR Code.

With all those QR scanner apps out there, you’d think that consumers MUST love ’em, right?

57% of consumers who have scanned a QR code say they did nothing with the information, compared to 21% who shared the information with someone and 18% who made a purchase, according to a survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB).

In fact, of those who have scanned a QR code, just 41% said that they found the information they received useful, while 42% had mixed feelings and 18% said the information was not useful.  (The End of the QR Code is Near – MarketingVOX, January 24th)

Enter Pongr.

When brands ask consumers to snap a product photo and text or email it in, Pongr recognizes the image and replies. (Forget QR Codes: Pongr Easily Turns Your Photos Into Brand Rewards –  Fast Company, January 9th)

So how does Pongr work for its clients?  Here’s an example:

1. Fan photographs self with Michael Jackson’s Immortal, sends it to mj@pongr.com.

2. Pongr’s image-recognition software identifies album in photo.

3. Fan is entered in contest to see premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson show.

The call-to-action by the brand is so much greater here. With QR codes, you’re hoping that the link embedded within will be enough of a pull to bring in a new consumer.  Using a mobile visual search

…provides consumers with faster, more convenient and compelling, interactive marketing experiences. (bieMEDIA Predicts the End of the QR Code – MarketWatch – January 24th)

As Jamie Thompson, President of Pongr explains it (in the Fast Company article):

Some brands are stuck in the mindset of this old-fashioned data-sampling model, where they think their customer might be the guy on the panel, because some data company has painstakingly and very expensively created a panel for them. Yet the reality is, there’s 100 million other people out there that they don’t know, that they’re not looking at, and they’re not slicing into that correctly.

So get the user to share real information with you, so that you know who they are.

That about sums it up.

(Note: I have no connection to Pongr. I just think that the company is super innovative, and it provides support to my anti-QR code claim).

Filed under: Business, Marketing, Social Media, Tech, , , , , , , , , ,

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