If you’ve ever hesitated to fill out an online form with your email address in exchange for nabbing a great offer, then you’ll understand the idea behind Dodoname, self-described as the “world’s first privacy marketing platform” in its unveiling on Tuesday.
Dual headquartered in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia and Ottawa, Dodoname has an offer of its own for customers who want to hand over their email address. They will be added to a list to join the service and sometime in early October receive the chance to register a pseudonym of their choice on the site. That name can then be used to interact with businesses on the Internet, allowing them to contact you without really knowing who you are.
Since new Dodonames can be created with the press of a button on the service’s website or mobile app, and easily disposed of at a later time, consumers won’t have to fear an influx of spam to their inboxes.
An invitation-only launch is planned in about three weeks time, according to a press release. Interested customers can sign up now to be on the waiting list for an invitation, plus they can move up the queue by inviting others to join the service (for example, here’s my affiliate link if you want to register and move me up the list). More functionality and a wider release is planned for November.
We were curious about how exactly the new service will work and how consumers might use it. So we asked Dodoname CEO Michael Gaffney some questions via email. Here are his responses:
Q: What is this service, a disposable email address?
Gaffney: It’s more than just a disposable email address. It’s a means of communicating, confidently and securely, with merchants. You can certainly choose to have a Dodoname go extinct, but you can also choose to have it persist and use it to maintain an ongoing relationship with specific merchants, without having to tell the merchants who you really are.
Dodoname is designed as a C2B (consumer-to-business) communication tool. It is not even useful for consumer-to-consumer communication as it has a receive-only function. It is a messaging service that allows a consumer to confidently communicate with a merchant with privacy – on the consumer’s terms.
Q: What is the point of signing up to claim my name if the name is disposable?
Gaffney: Your chosen Dodoname will be yours for as long as you maintain your account. Additional Dodonames you use to communicate with merchants are spawned on an as-needed basis and will be infinite derivations of your main name — email@example.com, followed by firstname.lastname@example.org, for example.
Q: What market research indicates to you that people want this?
Gaffney: There are scads of research telling us people want to safeguard their privacy and identity online and yet still want to be able to interact freely. We have additional functionality in the works that also responds to what we’re seeing in the marketplace. The number one concern on consumers on the Internet is their loss of privacy. 2014 has seen a raft of reports about the privacy losses — Target, Apple, etc.
Q: Won’t this be a way to facilitate illegal activity, potentially?
Gaffney: Not really, although I’m sure the criminal mind is craftier than ours and may well think up some ways to exploit it for nefarious purposes. However, a Dodoname is not an email address; it’s a one-way communications mechanism that lets you receive the best the web has to offer without revealing who you are and being subject to unwanted solicitations and spam. Its uniqueness and one-way nature do not make it a viable tool for bad guys, since they typically require two-way person-to-person communication.
Q: How will your service interact with merchants and other companies? Do you need to partner with them or not?
Gaffney: The Dodoname functionality of an anonymous communications channel does not require merchants to do anything at all, except to use the Dodoname you give them to send you whatever it is you want to receive. We don’t need to partner with merchants to deliver that functionality.