December 19, 2011
Resigning my Post as Chairman at PDEC
Effective immediately I'm resigning from the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium's board after nearly 14 months as Chairman.
In this first year of PDEC, we published papers, spoke at events and contributed to various endeavors in the personal data discussions happening on the web and in person around the world.
I'm personally very committed to a world where individuals drive their own data and I'm very proud of the work we did at PDEC, which is focused on companies and how those companies can build for a personal data ecosystem.
In the past couple of months, I've also worked to create a new org: Customer Commons, with about eight other folks, where the org is for Individuals only, no companies may join. Customer Commons looks at markets and data from a strictly individual point of view. I believe that it's a conflict of interest to work on both organizations (which represent either individuals or companies). Therefore, I want to see Customer Commons get up and running, and I realize I can't remain at PDEC, which represents the company perspective on the personal data ecosystem.
So for the foreseeable future, I'll be working on the same personal data issues, but from this Individual perspective, at Customer Commons. I wish Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium all the best.
~ Mary Hodder
December 09, 2011
Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium 2011 Recap, Part III
Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium, or PDEC, is an org I've been involved with for a year. I'm chairing the Board. We just sent out a Year in Review recap of our activities for 2011, Part III (PDEC Recent News and Specific Topics).
My involvement in PDEC included items (quotes from our newsletter -- to read the whole newsletter see our PDEC post here our link):
Forrester Research Report covers Personal Identity Management
The Forrester Report releases a report on Personal Identity Management. PDEC was among 14 organizations/companies interviewed for the report including other startup circle members: Azigo, Singly/the locker Project, Personal. Read the report here, or download it from Personal's website.
I spent a lot of time with Forrester on important aspects of the report and was really pleased to see that they groked these ideas yet formed their own conclusions about what is happening with personal data and control over ones identity.
(L-R: Kaliya Hamlin - Executive Director PDEC, Markus Sabadello - Project Danube, Drummond Reed - Connect.me, Mike Shwartz - Gluu, Michelle Chibba - Director of Policy with office of the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Ann Cavoukian - Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (standing), Jason Cavnar - Sing.ly (standing), Shane Green - Personal (standing), Henrik Biering - Peercraft, Joe Andrieu - Switchbook, Mary Hodder -- Chair PDEC, Iain Henderson - The Customer’s Voice. Missing from picture Lindsay Crittendon – Sing.ly who also attended.)
Ann Cavoukian is well known for her Privacy by Design initiative and was in San Francisco to speak at Web 2.0 Summit, held concurrently with IIW. PDEC arranged a dinner with the Startup Circle companies and Cavoukian for the Sunday prior to the conferences. The conversation was wide ranging and those present had a chance to share how they were building privacy-by-design into their core business and technical architectures. We also discussed the challenges in the ecosystem and how she would support privacy-by-design initiatives.
World Economic Forum update:
October 4-5, 2011 - NYC
The Rethinking Personal Data project of the World Economic Forum telecommunications group continues to work toward understanding how the market will develop for personal data. WEF group members are actively working on developing a potential framework of how personal data can be shared when derived in different forms. PDEC members, along with Kaliya Hamlin and Mary Hodder, continue to work on the monthly calls with WEF toward a report release in the Spring, 2012.
December 08, 2011
More on EBay Seller Misrepresentations -- EBay Backs Sellers Up Regardless
Yesterday I talked about how eBay has backed up a seller who sold me a Size LARGE coat which tied closed with a belt in the photos.. except that the belt is Size SMALL and won't actually close the coat on a size LARGE person: me.
Interestingly, EBay's phone reps said that it was my fault, that I didn't ask if the belt was a size large, even though the first and subsequent photos show the coat with a belt tied around it and the listing said the Coat was a Size LARGE. Any reasonable person would assume the WHOLE coat was a size LARGE.. not just parts of it.
So in thinking about this, I was reflecting back on an in-person interview eBay did with me this summer, as a regular customer. Basically, they wanted help figuring out what was working with eBay and Paypal, and what wasn't. And they wanted to talk about how to make eBay more like Amazon.
One of the things I commented on was that while I buy a lot from eBay, it does happen about 5% of the time that a seller misrepresents the item. They didn't seem to flinch over that figure. But I said "...EBay makes it safe to shop there, because they protect buyers with "buyer protection" where you immediately send the item back to the seller..." (i did in the coat case, send the item to Boca Raton, FL, and in fact in past cases eBay has scolded me for not sending the items fast enough back to the seller.. as in, when I call eBay, the item should already be in the mail back to the seller, with tracking and insurance... I shouldn't wait for eBay to tell me to send the item back.. I typically use FedEx ground for returns). I did in this case immediately return the item to the seller, and told eBay in writing as i described the problem, as well as over the phone.
What's interesting though is that based upon the user interviews they did with me this summer, they would like to compete with Amazon. Amazon has a seller's program and my response to this was as follows:
If eBay wants to do what Amazon does, have a fleet of sellers with high volume sales, then eBay will have to create a lot more consistency with returns for misrepresented items (again about 5% of items I've purchased are misrepresented.. this coat thing is the first time though that eBay has refused to honor buyer protection and told me the seller's misrepresentation was the buyer's (my) fault).
I also said that eBay would have to get much more consistent on requirements for the listings from sellers, that sellers would have to be held to better account as Amazon does for items and descriptions, because eBay sellers routinely try to hide things. For example, i purchased a new La Perla bra from someone two months ago. The seller managed to only photograph part of the bra and left out the flaw. The flaw was that the straps were sewn on backward and therefore didn't lay flat, but instead were twisted. It cost $10 to have it repaired at a tailor, or $10 to return it. The seller didn't care and refused to do anything about the problem and frankly it wasn't worth the fight, even though i sent photos to the seller of the flaw. So I took it to the tailor and ate the $10 fix. But in that case, the seller clearly photographed out the very top if the straps so that the twisted nature of them could be hidden from buyers.
That would never fly on Amazon, as Amazon would require the item be returned and refunded, no questions asked. In this case, I did pay 50% of full retail for the bra, a price very much in line with Amazon sellers. But given the fix verses send back prices, it wasn't worth the fight with the unscrupulous seller. You can bet that from now on, anything like that I'll be buying at Amazon, not eBay.
There is no way eBay is going to encroach on Amazon territory when seller misrepresentations like this are routine at eBay, and eBay doesn't protect buyers. If 5% of all eBay transactions are like mine, where sellers try to pull a fast one, as Kathy Don (sempaidon) did on the coat with the belt that is too short, or the La Perla Bra seller did with a new but "second" or flawed garment (twisted straps), or for that matter, the Tod's purse that was a vinyl fake that the seller insisted was real, or the opened and used "new" bottle of Furterer shampoo, buyers won't purchase at eBay, but they will at Amazon. I just don't see eBay being safe for buyers now that sellers who misrepresent are backed up by eBay. There is so much slippery seller action going on at eBay. Buyers have to be very very careful.
Additionally, the eBay representative yesterday said that I couldn't rely on photos with the listing, to show what I was getting. That I had to ask questions about the photos, and that my email with the seller verifying that the photos were correct was all I could rely on. That's the biggest shocker of all, that eBay no longer requires sellers to provide what is in the photos. That if the photos don't match, buyers are out of luck.
Or, buyers could shop at Amazon and feel secure about buying discounted items from sellers there.
I may still use eBay but will be even more careful now, since I have to suspect that even the most thorough listings may be filled with potential fraud, as was Kathy Don's listing saying that her sized LARGE coat would fit (and close) on a LARGE body, when in fact the closure belt doesn't tie on a Size LARGE.
Be warned, eBay is no longer protecting buyers against sellers who misrepresent items like Kathy Don did. I no longer recommend to people they purchase through eBay unless they are very experienced eBay buyers and do a ton of email before each purchase, to verify all aspects of a listing, INCLUDING ALL ASPECTS OF THE PHOTS, even if the seller has stated many details in the listing and in the photos.
December 07, 2011
Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium 2011 Recap, Part II
Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium, or PDEC, is an org I've been involved with for a year. I'm chairing the Board. We just sent out a Year in Review recap of our activities for 2011, Part II (second half of the year).
My involvement in PDEC included items (these are quotes from our newsletter -- to read the whole newsletter see our PDEC post here our link):
PDEC Value Network Mapping Meeting
August 3, 2011 - San Francisco
Kaliya Hamlin, Verna Allee of Value Networks LLC, & Mary Hodder met with Peter Vander Auwera of SWIFT, Dan Miller of C3, Drummond Reed, Doc Searls of The VRM Project, Craig Burton, Tony Fish (PDEC Board Member), Phil Wolfe of Data Portability Project and Nitin Shaw. The group met to work again on the current state of value online, as documented in the Value Network Map Project, started in July.
Sibos, SWIFT's Annual Event
September 20-24 - Toronto
Mary Hodder spoke at SIBOS about a new Digital Asset Grid that SWIFT would create to open the infrastructure for Personal Data, away from proprietary Silos to one where anyone could share personal data in a controlled and secure manner, with proper rights, and accountability.
IIW 13 was a great success!
October 17-19, 2011 - Mountain View
- PDEC's New Legal Advisory Board took shape with Judi Clark Chairing the effort. Notes from Judi's andMary Hodder's IIW session are here.
- Kaliya Hamlin hosted a session for big companies interested in Personal Data. We will be following up and exploring developing workshops for those companies.
- Customer Commons was created the day before IIW started with a group ranging from Doc and Joyce Searls to Craig Burton, Judi Clark, Joe Andrieu, Mary Ruddy, Mary Hodder, Drummond Reed, Britt Blaser, Markus Sabadello, and others. Customer Commons has evolved from the work at Project VRM, by Doc Searls and a large active community of VRMers. PDEC will be collaborating closely with Customer Commons. PDEC's collaboration will help companies offer early access to new Personal Data products to individual members to get feedback and early adoption from those folks very interested in the space. Notes from the working session are here.
- Markus Sabadello held a session on PDEC Technical Documentation and Interoperability. Notes are here.
- IIW opened Thursday with "Yukon Day," and many Startup Circle members and all of the companies doing something around personal data participating and sharing how they fit in to an overall ecosystem landscape.
- Mary Hodder worked on a diagram showing the range of organizations stewarding aspects of the Personal Data Ecosystem. A small version is below, but you can click through to read about all the orgs working on technical, market and policy for personal data, as well as the individual initiative led by Customer Commons. This diagram was first shared at IIW at the Final day closing session and iterated in the weeks following with input from Kaliya Hamlinand Judi Clark. The organizations listed in this diagram are working on different core foundational missions and working together to bring the PDE about more quickly.
pii - Privacy Identity Innovation - Venture Forum
November 15 - Palo Alto
Mary Hodder, PDEC's Chair, was on the closing panel, "Owning Online Identity: Consumer-Managed Data" about business models for a Personal Data Ecosystem, with Startup Circle companies: Jason Cavnar, Co-founder, Sing.ly and Shane Green, Co-founder, President and CEO, Personal. The panel also included Todd Cullen, VP Data Alliances at Acxiom, and Fatemah Khatibloo of Forrester, who moderated the discussion. Most sessions were blogged by Judi Clark at Digital ID Coach.
WARNING: Big Change at EBAY: Sellers who misrepresent will be backed up by Ebay.
Today I had an unfortunate experience with EBAY, where I regularly purchase a lot of items for myself as well as others, including everything from coats and clothing, to bags, shoes, shampoo, vintage items, kitchen items, gifts, etc. Actually, this particular experience has been going on for two weeks.
Essentially, a seller, Kathy Don, listed an item, pictured below, as a Size LARGE. She described the coat in the title and the body of the listing as a Size LARGE, and the listing photos show the coat as belted. The seller also points out that the coat doesn't have buttons. So, the only way to close the coat, is with the belt, as photographed.
And let's be honest: people who see a belted coat, knowing that it closes the coat per the listing photos, probably want to close the coat, with that belt. Afterall, coats are purchased for the winter -- to manage cold. A coat that won't close doesn't make much sense.
The problem is, this coat is a Size LARGE, but the BELT is, curiously, a size SMALL.
And therefore, the belt won't actually tie around the coat, when on a LARGE human. The eBay listing photo you see is a mannequin, likely a Size SMALL, and on a small body, the belt will tie.
I asked the seller, Kathy Don, to take it back, as the belted coat was misdescribed, between the photo and the "Size LARGE" listing title and description. She would not, claiming that she already sent the money to someone, that she has cancer, but I could resell it.
Does any of that matter if she misrepresented the coat?
If I relist the coat at eBay as Size LARGE, when the belt won't tie on a Size LARGE person, I too would be committing a "not as described" problem. Or fraud. Because the item doesn't match the listing: consisting of the Title, Photos, plus Description.
So I asked eBay to mediate. EBay came back and said that since I didn't ASK the seller if the belt was Sized LARGE, I'm at fault.
"You're required to:
Provide complete and accurate details.
Specify the condition of the item.
Describe any defects or flaws—this helps avoid problems or buyer dissatisfaction."
Well.. I would say the seller did not accurately describe the item, when they claimed the coat was a LARGE and that it belted. The belt doesn't work because it's a size SMALL. The seller in this case, did not provide complete and accurate details, nor did they specify the condition was that the LARGE coat would not close with the SMALL belt, nor did they describe the fact that the belt was defective, in size SMALL, for a LARGE sized person.
I asked various eBay Reps (they passed me around a lot.. and disconnected the call 3 times saying they would call back if they lost me, but they never did call back) if photos are part of the listing and they said yes, however the one I talked to this morning doesn't think the seller should be held to the photo that shows a belted coat, if the belt isn't mentioned in the words. In fact, the woman at eBay I spoke with this morning said that since the belt isn't mentioned at all in the description, the belt is therefore NOT PART of the listing.
REALLY? I see a belt in the photos. So I asked the eBay rep: So the photos aren't part of what a buyer should consider and count on to buy on eBay? Buyers should ignore photos? She refused to answer.
Apparently asking that items actually look and work as shown in the photos on eBay is asking too much.
But you get the point. Buyers can no longer rely on photos as part of the eBay listing contract.
According to eBay, I HAVE to ASK a seller if parts of the Size LARGE coat are actually not sized LARGE.
Essentially, this represents a HUGE change at eBay, where they are willing to let sellers misrepresent an item, in this case, listing a WHOLE COAT as Size LARGE, when in fact the coat comes with a Size SMALL belt that WILL NOT CLOSE.
Who buys a coat for winter that WON'T CLOSE? Because the belt is misrepresented?
Apparently eBay thinks I'm at fault for not asking: ARE *ALL* PARTS OF THE SIZED LARGE COAT *ACTUALLY* SIZED LARGE?
Apparently, a photo of a belted coat, along with a title and description claiming SIZE LARGE, isn't enough. Apparently, I needed to ask the seller, ARE YOU SURE THE *WHOLE* COAT IS A SIZE LARGE?
So now, I'm facing small claims court with Ebay and Paypay, who received the funds they later paid to the seller.
The lesson for you is, DON'T ASSUME eBay will uphold a listing with words and photos combined.
Don't BUY anything at eBay that doesn't say "no returns accepted" because eBay won't back up buyers who are sold something that is not what the photos and words describe.
EBay has abandoned buyers to unscrupulous sellers like Kathy Don of Boca Raton, Florida who described and photographed a belted-coat, as a size LARGE but in fact it wasn't possible to belt the coat or close it, since the belt was a size SMALL. It's okay if the seller, and eBay disregard the photos and provide whatever they feel like in the way of the item purchased.
Consider yourself warned. I certainly will warn the hundreds of people over the years that i've shown how to use eBay, set up with accounts as buyers, to let them know that buying on eBay is no longer safe for them. It's too dangerous and I no longer recommend doing it.