Fifteen years ago, the management of Transaction Commons led an internet-based company that enabled online deal collaboration. In those early days, even relatively straightforward electronic document management for transactions was perceived as revolutionary. Early adopters who used online applications seemed like outlying risk-takers.
Fast forward into a new century and new paradigm of deal management. Over the years, online collaboration and deal management have become mainstream productivity tools. In the past 5 years, some deal collaboration applications have morphed from deal space and deal management tools into industry-specific social networking, community-building platforms.
Deal Privacy vs. Deal Collaboration
This all-in-one approach has benefits in connecting dealmakers and providing visibility to and for deals. Yet there may be a hidden cost for this connectivity – both for dealmakers and their deals.
Take a look (as we did) at the privacy policies of most dealmaking/networking platforms. Several of these sites do in fact collect both personal user data and deal information. Some sites extract both personal and deal information. Some do it in aggregate form; some extract individual deal and user information. Some capture the number and types of deals. Some state openly that they provide this information to third parties to provide user/dealmakers on the platform with “products and services which may be of interest to you.” One deal collaboration site’s policy indicates that users may be required to disclose birthdates and social security numbers in order access the platform.
These policies lead us to question whether hybrid applications that merge social networking and dealmaking demand too high a price. In the process of building a business model around a network of dealmakers, these sites may be compromising the confidentiality and privacy of dealmakers and their deals.