John McCain

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Even as it defends the National Security Agency’s controversial Internet surveillance programs, the Obama administration has been working on legislation to boost online privacy safeguards for consumers. The fact that the administration is trying to advance such a measure—amid reports that the government can access people’s online communications—speaks to growing tensions with Europe over privacy. Top European Union officials have called for tighter data rules for U.S. Internet companies, and a base-line privacy bill would strengthen the administration’s hand in negotiating with Europe

How do you tap into the subconscious mind of your site visitors and make them click that call to action button? The moment you get a little salesy, you know they’ll run away before you even realize what happened. … With customers getting smarter by the day, subtlety is the key to success. In simple words, you have to persuade them to complete your conversion goal by making them think they want to do it and not because you want them to. Make your visitors achieve their goals first before you bother them with your marketing goals. But how do

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is not a high priority for the new leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Incoming Chairman Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., said his top priority for the committee, which oversees the U.S. Postal Service, is to pass a new postal overhaul bill. “I want to pass a bill, similar to the last Congress, that puts the postal service on the right track,” Carper said. “My early goal legislatively is to get that done, and I have not spent a lot of time thinking about Lance Armstrong.” USPS paid more than $30 million

A Senate bill aimed at saving the U.S. Postal Service would make it harder to close thousands of low-revenue post offices and end Saturday mail delivery, even though the struggling agency says those moves are just what’s needed to reduce its massive debt and become profitable again. The measure takes steps to help the agency avert bankruptcy as early as this fall, through a cash infusion of $11 billion to pay off debt and reduce costs by offering retirement incentives to 100,000 employees. But the bill sidesteps decisions on postal closings, buying time for lawmakers who would rather avoid …

While Senators John Kerry and John McCain were introducing their Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights to the Senate, Jerry Cerasale, the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) senior vice president of government affairs, delivered a battle plan for direct marketers to keep their businesses out of the muck and ahead of legislative handcuffs. "I've been with the DMA 16 years," says Cerasale, "and I don't think we've ever been under attack like we are today."

Although the future and final shape of any "Do Not Track" legislation remain unclear, the effects on the online advertising world—and how consumers browse and experience the Web—are likely to be significant and far-reaching. Though the promise of greater privacy may sound alluring in the abstract, in practical terms consumers have a lot more to lose if online tracking disappears.

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