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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Credit Card Processing for Dating Sites

DigiWorld Partners had the opportunity recently to sit down with Conal Cunningham of InovioPay to discuss some of his insights regarding credit card processing. More specifically, the short session was dedicated to credit card processing for dating sites, which has become a booming industry now estimated to have annual revenues of about $2 billion in the U.S. According to Pew Research, online dating among 18- to 24-year olds has nearly tripled in the past three years and doubled among 55- to 64-year olds. This trend shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. Credit card payments for dating sites, however, is considered risky business for many card issuers, which was a main topic during this interview. Why Dating Sites Are Different The reason dating sites are considered to be one of the most dangerous environments for credit card processing is because of the unusually high probability of chargebacks. If, for example, a legitimate charge is made on an individual’s credit card and this purchase is later discovered by that person’s significant other, he or she may dispute the charge and initiate a chargeback through their bank. When this occurs, the dating site receives a black mark from their card processor, even though the site itself has no control over the situation, since the purchase made on the card was totally legitimate. This is why businesses utilizing credit card processing for dating sites should have the necessary risk mitigation services in place to protect themselves from the negative aspects associated with this industry. Failure to stay ahead of chargeback problems and bank disputes so prevalent in the online dating sector can result in revenue losses, increased transaction costs and even fines.

 Charges Versus Fees While the percentages that banks charge dating sites per transaction are typically in line with those for other online retailers, the real cost stemming from disputes turning into chargebacks is in the fees your bank will levy. Cunningham explains that in many cases these can be as high as $45 per incident. In addition, many banks set fraud thresholds of as low as 1% for dating sites. According to Conal, anything in excess of this 1% can carry fines starting at $100 per incident.   Keeping Outside of the Chargeback Channel To get in front of these problematic chargeback issues, InovioPay works with networks that have good standing relationships with the big name banks that issue most of the credit cards used by dating site visitors. In the event of a dispute, rather than going to the bank whose name is on the credit card and initiating the chargeback process, it’s handled in the background without ever going through the card issuer. A refund is guaranteed to the customer and the entire matter is handled without incurring high fees or fines. This also keeps the incidence of fraud below the 1% threshold, thereby keeping the account in a healthy condition.   Friendly Chargebacks and Chargeback Mitigation No matter how sophisticated your credit card processing for dating sites may be, there will always be people who try to beat the system by purchasing your service and then later going to their bank, complaining for some reason and demanding a refund. This is called “friendly fraud,” and there’s basically nothing you can do to prevent it. If, however, you maintain a friendly relationship with the merchant banks that issue credit cards, Cunningham states that it’s possible that those banks will simply issue a refund without any fanfare and without incurring any charges, fees or fines.   Communication With Customers Good communication with your customers is another critical factor in keeping your relationship with your credit card processing company on a healthy footing. Conal explains the importance of the descriptor you include on customers’ bank statements. This message should provide them with an easy means for contacting your company, either by phone or on the website, if they have a questions, problems, or disputes. You want them to feel it’s easier to contact you than to contact their bank. This is why your customer service lines should be open and answered immediately. If someone goes to the website for assistance they should see a message that says: “Do you have a problem? Click here.” Communication should be quick, easy and responsive.   High-Risk/Low-Risk Classifications Conal goes into options the credit card companies have in classifying businesses as either high- or low-risk. He explains that much depends on your payment relationship with the banks. This can affect the 1% fraud threshold when fines start being levied. While businesses classified high-risk may have a higher fraud threshold, the downside is that some banks may decline charges from a high-risk business. Learn more about InovioPay and credit card processing for dating sites by watching the entire interview video. It’s important information for those in the dating site game. 2b672451-586b-4c06-a884-dc76d1ac8229

Let’s Talk Digital Marketing and Law

We had the pleasure to sit down and talk with Corey, owner of the Law Offices of Corey D. Silverstein, P.C.. Corey has extensive knowledge in the digital marketing field. When we asked Corey what he saw as the biggest errors for those just starting out in digital marketing make, he was quick to answer.

You Need an Agreement

This may seem a matter of common sense in most businesses, but Corey indicates people sometimes underestimate the need for a good agreement in their excitement over opening a digital business. He cautions that it is still a business and must be thought of as such. When asked what type of information is necessary in a good agreement, he named several factors:

*Profit/Loss distribution – Everyone gets excited about the prospect of earning money and often don’t consider how the profits will be divided. What is even more likely to cause conflict is deciding how a loss will effect each member of the deal. In regards to any business, Corey cautions, even family members need a legally binding agreement when money is involved.

*Ending of partnership – What terms are in place if one partner decides to pull out of the business completely? It is important to decide if someone can simply walk away or if they need to sell their shares to other partners. Knowing exactly what is to happen if the partnership is dissolved is necessary to avoid legal complications down the road.

*Conflict resolution – You don’t anticipate problems going into a business, but anything involving two or more people is bound to have some conflict. Having a plan already in place to deal with these issues can make a huge difference in time, money and relations. You can include details such as when formal resolution is needed, how it is to be accomplished and even who is going to mediate.

Taking on the World

We next asked Corey what advice he would give to someone who was interested in expanding their business into a place such as Europe. Here is where we learned some very surprising facts.

There is a need for extensive research. Not only do you need to know and comply with all the regulations set forth by your local, state and federal regulation committees here in the United States, but you are also required to comply with all the regulations set forth by the area you are seeking to do business in. Every country has its own laws and regulating committees, but so does each local area.

Corey states that many new business owners are surprised that if you do business with even one person in a region, you are subject to all the laws in that region. For example, we have always seen the disclaimers on certain products saying they are not available in such and such a state. Even if you are not located in an area, you must make sure you comply with that areas laws. It is not up to those who do business with you, but with you.

Privacy Issues

As Corey explains that knowing and complying with all relevant privacy issues is one of the most essential things you need to do. The subject of data security has gained a great deal of attention in recent months and every country has its own safeguards that must be addressed.

In addition, many European countries have in place censorship laws that you are required to comply with even if they are not a consideration in your area. It is important that you develop a privacy policy that lists accurately exactly what measures you have in place, what they are meant to protect and how you will deal with any instances of breach of privacy.

Corey cautions that it is necessary to write your own privacy policy, based on your particular situation because every business has different concerns. This is one area that is specifically business-based. He also states that there are laws in place that protect people when you state a safeguard is in place and it is not.

Final Words

Litigation is costly. The Small Business Association contracted with the Klemm Analysis Group of Washington, DC to conduct a study of the impact of lawsuits on small businesses. The study found that “an average civil case can cost $50,000 to $100,000 to litigate through trial exclusive of appeals and any judgment.” They also found the impact of one case on the business itself and the physical and emotional health of the business owner were even greater.

Our legal expert reminds you that it may seem time-consuming and expensive to see that you have done all your homework, have prepared an extensive privacy protocol and have an agreement that covers everything; in the long run, it is less expensive than facing a lawsuit.

Watch the complete video. If you have legal questions or concerns regarding your digital business, complete our contact us form and we will get you in direct contact with Corey Silverstein.

Advanced Email and Multi-Channel Marketing

DigiWorld Partners had the honor to sit down with Ariel Roberge, head of Carma Marketing Hub’s North American operations. In our interview, we discussed advanced email and multi-channel marketing (as employed by Carma’s software solution), as well as how they help their clients reach beyond just email marketing using their advanced platform.

EMAIL AND MULTI-CHANNEL MARKETING IN THE MODERN ERA

As of 2015, there are over 4.3 billion email accounts across the Internet, with this figure expected to grow to 5.6 billion in 2019. Meanwhile, 66% of these ~4 million have made a purchase online as a result of email marketing messages, as of 2013. These statistics show a massive, present-day presence of email and email marketing on the consumer side.  But what about businesses? In 2014, 55% of businesses reported 10 percent (or more) sales being generated from emailIn the same year, 88% of marketers who employed email marketing reported a positive ROI. Meanwhile, it’s even better for businesses who make usage of targeted marketing. In the United States, consumers say that targeted email marketing (based on their previous purchases and other customer data) made to them after a purchase is 81% more likely to convince them to make another purchase than other forms of marketing. For businesses and consumers alike, email marketing seems like the way to go. However, email isn’t the only marketing platform. For this reason, advanced email and multi-channel marketing (that is, marketing that takes advantage of the multiple channels of communication available with consumers) is prominent now more than ever, and this prominence is only going to grow as more and more people shop online and use the Internet regularly. Using the multiple channels available for marketers (email, web, in-app, SMS), digital marketing is growing into a larger behemoth than it’s ever been. To learn more about the latest innovations in email marketing, watch our full interview with Ariel Roberge on this page or continue reading the article below.

Ariel’s History

Ariel Roberge is an experienced marketer who focuses on email marketing. Ariel has been working online for twenty years, and was involved in ecommerce since the founding of Amazon. He participated in a few startups, B2B projects, acted as a consultant to major banks for 12 years, and five years ago he joined a company based out of Stockholm, Sweden that specializes in 1-to-1 Digital Marketing. This company’s name is Carma Marketing Hub. Taking advantage of their full suite of features is known as multi-channel marketing, which can be a huge boon to sales, data collection and data analytics. These channels are web, email, SMS and mobile apps. Effective data collection and marketing in these areas can result in a large return on investment and a higher conversion rate, both huge boons for ecommerce businesses. Carma’s goal is to allow their clients to leverage the data they have on customers and create detailed customer journeys with interactive messaging.

Advanced Email Marketing

This advanced email marketing system allows an automated system to follow up on initial purchase, the first engagement. In most buyer’s journeys, buying the product is the end: marketing afterward for repeat business is the usual goal of this kind of marketing. Interactions that continue in this post/during-purchase phase can be automated by surveys and promotions being sent to the buyer through email. Their software allows people to profile different clients based on their interests, automatically. This saves manpower and allows less-technically savvy people to manage their platform. This can be applied in both B2B and ecommerce. However, the emails being sent out through this program aren’t the same for every customer. In traditional online marketing, businesses gather data based on what the customer has purchased and looked at to create buyer profiles. From there, emails are created that fit each buyer profile, and while, say, one buyer profile may equate to, say, 7% of buyers, there’s still the remaining 93% of buyers who need to be profiled. In the past, this process of profiling and writing personalized messages for the people who fit those profiles could take weeks, or months. It required extra manpower, usually hiring marketing managers. Nowadays marketing managers can just manage the flow instead of doing the gruntwork, and the platform can do most of the work automatically. Using the platform’s Segmentation and Personalized Content Engine, a process that used to take up to a month can now be done in a few days.

Apps, Web, Advanced Email and Multi-Channel Marketing

However, Carma Marketing Hub doesn’t focus solely on email marketing. Their focus is advanced email and multi-channel marketing. Customers today are going to approach you on more than just one channel, so having multi-channel marketing in place is fairly important. Apps, in particular, add an extra element of interaction to purchases and customer interactions, such as providing better communications or discounts. Businesses who can take advantage of advanced email and multi-channel marketing (usually ecommerce and dating sites) can benefit from this kind of system, especially if they start with it from day one. Over time, the program can actually start creating and managing behavioral data. As Ariel explains, behavioral data in the dating context can be seen in someone who most often clicks, say, blonde girls instead of brunette. This preference isn’t being explicitly stated to the site, but it is being implicitly demonstrated, and the site can start showing better results based on that. Behavior like this can be tracked on apps, websites and even (albeit in a more limited form) in email communications. Combining behavioral data from multiple channels can lead to more effective advanced email and multi-channel marketing solutions. This can be significantly more effective than traditional on-site advertisements. Patterns like these benefit a marketer’s ability to more easily target market segments and client profiles.

Ideal Clients and Content Marketing

An ideal client for Ariel’s business is anyone who has customer data that they can leverage. Size doesn’t matter that much. Some clients, however, make the mistake of thinking they can handle marketing in-house and as an afterthought, creating mass-messages to send out. These clients usually discover that this is more difficult than they thought, so they come to the company for assistance. In addition to all that Carma offers with marketing and advertising, they also offer Content Management Software. CMS is a key part of the company’s offering, in addition to its advanced email and multi-channel marketing tools. This CMS boasts the following features:

  • It allows an entire content marketing team to work on content simultaneously.
  • The software prioritizes user-friendliness above technical expertise, so less training and less employees are required to use it properly. Without advanced technical knowledge as a requirement, more business experts can use the software effectively.
  • The ability to reuse elements from old advertising campaigns, such as page banners.
  • Easy building and testing of segments without needing an SQL database expert. As long as the person understands the data, they can create segments to market to.

Machine Learning and What’s Next For Carma Marketing HUB

As you may have gathered from previous points in the article, Carma Marketing is all about utilizing customer data analytics for advanced forms of targeted advertising and search results. This is called Machine Learning, and Carma hopes to use it to create new marketing segments and find new ways to market to those segments. For more email tips & tricks, read “Why List Segmentation is a Must for Email Marketing“.


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