TrustFabric launch Connect service to block unwanted advertising

TrustFabric Connect lets you control how businesses are allowed to contact you via email, phone, text message and snail mail.

June 14, 2011

Companies are constantly interrupting our lives with telephone marketing, SMS messages and emails.

TrustFabric recently launched TrustFabric Connect: a do-not-contact list. The new service not only lets individuals opt-out of direct marketing, but makes it easy for businesses to comply with legislation protecting customer rights.

“We’ve had just over 100 users sign up in the first week.” says Joe Botha, CEO of TrustFabric.

Direct Marketing Regulations

The Consumer Protection Act came into effect on 1 April this year. The Act states that consumers are entitled to refuse direct marketing. It defines a pre-emptive block registry where people can opt-out of direct marketing.

Irresponsible direct marketing is a problem, especially SMS marketing where an opt-out reply costs money. Very little has been done to address the problem so far. The Direct Marketing Association of SA’s “do not contact” database was recently reported as leaked, exposing around 40000 people to identity theft risks. Their database, which contained ID numbers, was regularly sent out as a spreadsheet containing contact details in plain text. In the recent elections the DA was widely criticised for a mass SMS campaign on election day.

TrustFabric Connect differs from other Opt-out services in a few ways: You only share the details you want to, no ID number required. Details are kept secure and encryption is used.

Value for Businesses

TrustFabric Connect offers businesses regulatory compliance and better data quality. Most Opt-out services are blunt instruments, offering no value to businesses. TrustFabric Connect is the first service to provide businesses with verified up to date contact details for their customers.

“We’re very happy with the response from businesses. 11 forward thinking businesses signed up in the first week after we launched, including Skyrove, Lexus Helderberg and CITi.” says Joe.

Most businesses have customer databases which are out of date. One of our major banks has 22 million customer records, but only 4 million active customers as each business unit maintains its own customer database. TrustFabric Connect offers businesses a way to link customer records to people again.

How businesses manage our personal information will become critical when the The Protection of Personal Information Bill becomes law later this year.

How does it work?

Individuals create a TrustFabric Connect account, then enter an email address and mobile phone number. TrustFabric verifies these details and lets users configure their communication preferences. Businesses create a TrustFabric Connect account and upload encrypted versions of email addresses and mobile phone numbers from their existing customer database.

When a match is found, on email address or phone number, TrustFabric Connect will prompt individuals to confirm a business relationship and enable sharing of up to date contact information. This builds business relationships. Businesses query the TrustFabric Connect service to see which customers have confirmed a business relationship and given permission to be contacted.

Users get a list of their active business relationships and a dashboard to manage their business communication. They can conveniently update their details in one place and linked businesses will receive their new details.

Businesses get a verified up to date opt-in list. TrustFabric always acts as an independent 3rd party, never sharing contact details unless a business relationship has been confirmed.

TrustFabric Connect costs under R5 per customer per year and the service is free for individuals, small businesses and educational institutions.

“We have set a target of 150,000 users for the next year. That might be a bit optimistic, but I suspect we are providing a solution to a very real problem. Something which has been overlooked for far too long.”, says Joe.

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