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Will Microsoft’s Purchase of LinkedIn be a Data Privacy Mess?

By   /  June 20, 2016  /  No Comments

micby Angela Guess

Ryan Phelan recently opined in VentureBeat, “A lot of people are giddy over the news that Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26 billion. Investors are thrilled at the hefty boost in the stock price, while salespeople dream of connecting their Outlook and LinkedIn accounts to make their jobs easier. Amid all the conversation, there’s one thing that email marketers, particularly those on the B2B side, need to think about: With this purchase, Microsoft just became one of the largest data houses, joining ranks with Acxiom, Dun & Bradstreet, and Experian, but with a twist. Microsoft is also a data house with inbox statistics on activity through its Outlook email application. This raises many questions about privacy, data management, and how comfortable end users of both Microsoft products and LinkedIn are with the company knowing so much about them. Although the acquisition has advantages for everyone, the bigger issue is that we now have one company with active access to individual usage on both the B2B and consumer sides.”

Phelan continues, “Data accuracy has always been challenging for B2B marketers because people job-hop so often. They wonder: Is this person still at the same company? Am I emailing the right person? B2C data, on the other hand, is rich because of a constant influx of updated and accurate data through publicly available sources, such as home address or presence of children in the home. The LinkedIn acquisition gives Microsoft highly accurate data available daily about users connected to LinkedIn and can identify Microsoft users and their daily active usage. LinkedIn isn’t a perfect source of business intelligence – it still relies on people to self-report their resumes and accomplishments, with no checks for accuracy or timeliness. But as the No. 1 business social network, it has high member engagement and trust.”

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Photo credit: Microsoft and LinkedIn

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