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trying to understand the business model for
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2008 10:20:31 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

Date: August 27, 2008 9:38:23 AM EDT
To: <dave () farber net>
Subject: RE: [IP] trying to understand the business model for

If you decide to forward the following to IP, please do not include my
e-mail info.

Based on the website and the "Terms of Service," my guess is that the
company intends to make money in one of two ways:

(1) In some capacity as an "Agent" to each of its users -- it might try
marketing its agency standing to other companies that might consider it
efficient to work with Pageonce to be able to reach its database of
users.  The PC Magazine article seems to hint at that:  "the accounts
you add must be in the service's supported list of e-mail, financial,
shopping, utility, travel, and social-networking destinations."

The fact that Pageonce requires you to make them your agent is a bit
troubling.  The following excerpt from their ToS is particularly
worrisome:  "You hereby expressly authorize Pageonce to act as your
agent and to process requests for your accounts through or with any
service provider for whom you provide us account access information. You
authorize Pageonce to legally represent you to your service providers
through this interface. You are granting us the legal power of attorney
to access your accounts and take whatever actions necessary to provide
services under this Agreement."  Granting someone a power of attorney to
access accounts and take whatever actions necessary to provide service
is a pretty broad grant of power that can easily be abused.

(2) By using the data they possess to sell advertising.  Their Privacy
Policy states that "Pageonce may aggregate transaction data and disclose
such data only in aggregate and in a non-personally identifiable manner
to third parties for marketing and promotional purposes (e.g. how many
users responded to a particular offer). . . . We use information about
which links have been followed and whether action has been taken on
another party's web site to improve our offerings and to customize the

Once they have a notable number of users, Pageonce may be able to entice
advertisers to try some advertising through Pageonce's start-up page.
Pageonce will already have a lot of information about each user (it can
even claim users opted-in) and will be better able to target advertising
towards a particular users' interests.  Their homepage already shows
companies they consider "Select Providers."

There are a number of troubling provisions in the ToS, including the
indemnity clause that purports to free them from all liability from "any
claim or demand" arising out of the use of the service.  In other words,
if they screw up your information, they will claim they are not liable.
Similarly, if they accidentally release all your personal information,
in violation of their own privacy policy, they will likely claim that
they are not liable.

Whether a court would uphold such a provision is not clear, but in case
a court does not, Pageonce has a provision for that occurrence as well:
"In the event that a court should hold that the limitations of
liabilities or remedies available as set forth in this Agreement, or any
portions thereof, are unenforceable for any reason, or that any of your
remedies under this Agreement fail of their essential purpose, you
expressly agree that under no circumstances shall Pageonce's total
liability to you or any party claiming by, through or under you for any
cause whatsoever, and regardless of the form of action, whether in
contract or in tort, including negligence or strict liability, in the
aggregate, exceed $500 (U.S.)."

I highly doubt that $500 would remedy the damage Pageonce could do with
access to the information they encourage their users to provide.  If
used in a limited manner, it may be a great service, but I would not
entrust my personal information, especially bank account and bill-paying
information to them.  I would rather trust my own memory.

-----Original Message-----
From: David Farber [mailto:dave () farber net]
Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 8:07 AM
To: ip
Subject: [IP] trying to understand the business model for

I am trying to understand what their business model is and why I
should trust any service with my very sensitive account information.
-- Pageonce --- www.pageonce.com .

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