Renting User Information: Hooked on Phonics and Amazon

Hooked on Phonics just agreed to forfeit $4,600 it earned from renting customer information that it had obtained under a Privacy Policy that did not allow it to rent customer information without giving existing customers a chance to opt out.

Interesting timing on this. I have been ordering books from Amazon for several years now under the name "Paul Amazon Allen." I did this, of course, to track Amazon's use of my customer information.

It’s Easy to Go Public!

Remember the DotComGuy from Texas who changed his name and lived inside his house entirely off purchases he made online for an entire year to prove to the world that eCommerce was for real?

Well, now meet SearchGuy, or actually is not the name of a person, but it is a company that recently went public through a reverse merger with a public shell. The company is located in Mountain View, CA. The CEO is Leonard Ratchinsky.


I'm working with a team on an experimental political web site called We've done a soft launch and are getting some traffic from Google. There are big plans for this site (inspired by the Dean campaign,,, and other cool and effective political sites) and motivated by a love for the greatest democratic nation in the history of the world, and a hope to keep it that way.

Best Way to Create a Billion Dollar Company

I had lunch yesterday with a close friend, Jim Ericson, who was my first marketing employee at, back in 1998, just after he got his MBA from BYU. Everything Jim does works, and he has had success wherever he goes. We're hoping to work together again very soon.

India Unbound

If you think your company might someday consider outsourcing certain job functions to India, or if you might someday sell products internationally, please read India Unbound. I read it last week and couldn't put it down.