ZoomInfo: Business Information Is Not Private
March 16, 2011 — Waltham, Mass. — Your name, the name of your employer, your job title — and your business phone number and business email address — should be available to anyone. That’s the main point of a "Business Information Manifesto" published today by business information provider ZoomInfo (www.zoominfo.com).
With the U.S. Senate beginning hearings today and no less than seven pieces of legislation circulating Congress on online information privacy, ZoomInfo issued the manifesto to make a distinction between business, personal and behavioral information. The company said the distinction is necessary to protect the health of business-to-business (B2B) companies and thereby the economy.
Like many privacy bills in discussion, its manifesto supports regulatory protection for personal information (home addresses, names of spouses, home values, etc.) and behavioral information (tracking online personal information and behavior across Web properties). But it posits that business information — basic organizational information, job title, business phone number, email address, etc. — is not private, and therefore should not be treated the same as personal and behavioral information.
Doing so would slow the economy, ZoomInfo said, because the business landscape relies on the ability of businesses to efficiently connect with each other and conduct commerce. The company encouraged the industry and lawmakers to clarify practices and regulations around the fair use of business information.
“It has unfortunately become easy to find personal information yet incredibly difficult to determine who holds a particular position at a company and how to reach that person. Why?” asked Yonatan Stern, CEO, ZoomInfo. “One reason is historic. In the past, companies considered information about their employees to be proprietary, in part to protect themselves from other companies extending unsolicited job offers to their staffs. But with the frequency at which people change jobs today, that concern is no longer relevant. And cloistering business data is antiquated thinking.”
Stern expressed concern that proposed legislation and regulations, while appropriately protecting personal and behavioral information, could lead to a restriction in the flow of business information and hinder businesses’ ability to conduct commerce. He said that ZoomInfo hopes to open a dialogue among B2B industry organizations and that others will adopt the manifesto and join its effort to assure that businesses have the highly accessible and accurate information they need.
Key themes of the manifesto include:
- Business information is not the same as personal information.
- Personal information is private.
- People must have control over their personal and professional profiles.
- Business information must be accurate.
Stern said: “Data that’s incorrect causes just as much lost productivity as data that’s unavailable. In either case, businesses waste time searching for correct data . . . time they should be spending conducting commerce.”
ZoomInfo’s complete Business Information Manifesto is available on the company’s website.
About ZoomInfoZoomInfo™ provides just-verified, detailed profiles of businesspeople and businesses, plus the market's most powerful tools for prospecting, lead generation and recruiting. Free business contacts are available through the ZoomInfo™ Directory. The company's premium products include the award-winning ZoomInfo™ Pro, ZoomInfo Data Services and ZoomInfo Enterprise Solutions. Follow ZoomInfo on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the ZoomInfo blog. For more information, go to www.zoominfo.com or call 866-904-9666.
Lauren Barber ZoomInfo