Bank of America

Encrypt, Encrypt, Encrypt ... or Else ...
March 20, 2012

Imagine Henry Kissinger or Warren Buffett trying to pay his hotel bill at the Ritz in Moscow and being told by a desk clerk that his credit card was no good.

What's more, imagine how you would feel if it were your fault. That is the embarrassment facing newsletter publisher George Friedman.

Stratfor Global Intelligence is a highly respected daily newsletter devoted to world news, covert actions, military affairs, terrorism and intrigue. If you are an international news junkie, this is a must read.

Subscribers include high-powered and high profile folks in Fortune 500 companies, international finance, academia, governments, the military and the media.

The entire subscriber file was hacked, and the criminals started looting money from the accounts. The FBI alerted the issuers of nearly 100,000 credit cards of the account numbers that had been stolen, and presumably they were summarily canceled.

From CEO George Friedman's letter to his subscribers:

We knew our reputation would be damaged by the revelation, all the more so because we had not encrypted the credit card files. This was a failure on our part. As the founder and CEO of Stratfor, I take responsibility for this failure, which has created hardship for customers and friends, and I deeply regret that it took place. The failure originated in the rapid growth of the company. As it grew, the management team and administrative processes didn't grow with it. Again, I regret that this occurred and want to assure everyone that Stratfor is taking aggressive steps to deal with the problem and ensure that it doesn't happen again.

Read Friedman's entire letter and you'll discover a confession of incompetence by an academic Ph.D. that has no business running a business.

Overnight, Strafor Global Intelligence became an oxymoron.

The Customers 
Are in Revolt!
February 1, 2012

In the fall of 2011, if the marketing powers-that-were at Bank of America and Netflix had practiced the Method Marketing concept, they would not have wound up eating large helpings of crow.

DMARC: Another Step in the Fight Against Email Phishing
January 31, 2012

Is there any topic more certain to make a marketer's eyes glaze over with boredom than email authentication? Don't answer. That was rhetorical. However, there was an email-authentication-related development earlier this week that marketers who use email should take note of. It may begin to tip the scales in the battle against phishing—fraudulent email pretending to be from a well known brand in order to get users' account information—in favor of the good guys.

Leading Emailers to Combat Phishing Through DMARC.org
January 31, 2012

Fifteen leading email service and technology providers are today announcing DMARC.org, a technical working group that has been developing standards for reducing the threat of deceptive emails, such as spam and phishing. DMARC.org draws upon a history of private industry collaboration with 18 months of dedicated work to outline an enhanced vision for email authentication that can scale up to today's Internet needs.

Bank of America Gives Loan Modifications to People Who Won't Complain About Them on Facebook
January 30, 2012

As we've previously reported, Bank of America's loan modification program (for want of a better phrase) is being sued by the state of Arizona. But the AZ Attorney General says the nation's second-largest bank is hindering his investigation by quietly negotiating settlements with underwater homeowners—or at least those who will pledge to keep their mouths shut about the bank.

101 Examples of Social Business ROI
January 13, 2012

A few years ago, I put together a list of social media marketing examples. The list contains 324 examples of brands putting social media to use and at that point in the social media industry's evolution, it was the best of what was around (and still might be). Now that initiatives have been in market, any reasonable business manager would expect to see program results. However, quantified results in social business and brands willing to stand behind them are difficult to find. But the truth is out there …

Can I Help You? On Twitter, the Answer Is No
February 16, 2011

We put customer service to the test at companies from Zappos to Delta to Bank of America, asking for help over Twitter, on the phone, and on the web. The results were surprising.

Groupon Chooses the Vertica Analytics Platform to Power Deeper Insight into Subscriber and Customer Behavior
January 18, 2011

The Vertica Analytics Platform was selected after a rigorous evaluation process where Vertica excelled in meeting Groupon's requirements for parallel data loading, query performance and simplicity, as well as Vertica's ability to deploy on the Amazon Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2) offering. With the Vertica Analytics Platform, Groupon is in a position to analyze the relationships found among its extensive amounts of data, including the ability to associate revenue and other metrics to individual users. "As Groupon continues its rapid expansion into new markets, we see advanced analytics as a key component to achieving our subscription, revenue, and

The Top 50 Mailers
September 1, 2009

What a difference a year makes. With the U.S. Postal Service reporting mail volume on the decline to the tune of billions of pieces, it comes as no surprise that the 2009 Top 50 Mailers list is greatly changed from its 2008 counterpart.

USPS in a Pickle Again
April 1, 2009

Two years after headline-making postal reform, here we go again. The U.S. Postal Service witnessed a headline-making drop of 9.5 billion mail pieces in fiscal year 2008, which contributed to a net loss of $2.8 billion. But having to pay $5.6 billion to prefund its retiree health benefit fund was the major hit that made the USPS management’s aggressive cuts of $2 billion from annual operating costs practically disappear into thin air. And with no relief in sight, Postmaster General John Potter has stated the organization is on track to post a revenue shortfall of $5 billion in fiscal year 2009.