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Poll: Three-in-four Americans worry about online security

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – Almost three-quarters of Americans worry about the quantity of personal information available online and more than half feel they cannot trust social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to keep their contact information, buying habits and political beliefs confidential. According to a new poll conducted by Rad Campaign, Lincoln Park Strategies, and Craigconnects, online security concerns rise as Americans get older.

Those older than 65 expressed the least trust in social media, and were most certain their data was being sold and felt most strongly that privacy laws need to be strengthened. Seniors expressed concern at roughly twice the rate of poll respondents younger than 35.

At the top of the list of concerns are tracking cookies. Seventy-three% of respondents said they were concerned about such cookies being placed on their computers without their knowledge, and 36% said they knew for a fact that this had happened to them.

The poll suggested that many Americans do not think it is their responsibility to set limits on their privacy. While 60% of respondents either thought current privacy laws were too weak or weren’t sure, a similar number, 66%, said they either skim through a website’s terms of service (TOS) before agreeing or do not read the terms of service at all.

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Wet Seal names Iris Mobile as mobile agency

BY Dan Berthiaume

Foothill Ranch, Calif. – The Wet Seal Inc. has named Iris Mobile as its mobile messaging agency. Iris Mobile will support the brand’s mobile marketing programs with Rich Media Messaging (RMM) to help the retailer strengthen its presence and connect more personally with its mobile customers.

RMM is Iris Mobile’s patented messaging technology that delivers device-optimized rich content to mobile handsets, with no data plan required. Work began in May 2014 with a RMM campaign allowing customers to opt-in to receive mobile messages from Wet Seal by text. Upcoming RMM campaigns, aimed to build brand loyalty and drive sales, will contain coupons and promotions, iPhone Passbook integration, the ability to set calendar reminders before offers expire, and options to share messages with friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Iris Mobile’s mobile marketing platform will enable Wet Seal to send interactive messages containing pictures, videos, coupons, promotions, extended text and web links, and the ability to track campaign analytics for consumer behavior.

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Bon-Ton nabs Belk merchant for CEO job

BY CSA STAFF

Belk president and chief merchandising officer Kathryn Bufano was named president at CEO of The Bon-Ton Stores late Thursday.

Bufano spent the past six years with Belk, a higher regarded privately held operator of more than 300 mid-tier department stores in the Southeast. She will assume her new role at The Bon-Ton’s 272 store operation on August 25. Bufano fills a position previously held by Brendan Hoffman who is leaving the company after his three-year contract expires. The company said Hoffman will play an important role in working through a transition period with Bufano and was actively involved in conversations with her during the recruitment process.

“We are excited to have an executive with Kathryn’s talents and background assuming the role of president and CEO. Her years of experience in the department store industry will allow her to refine and drive the strategic growth initiatives we have put in place over the last several years,” said The Bon-Ton chairman and chief strategic officer Tim Grumbacher.

Prior to her time at Belk, Bufano served as CEO of Vanity Shops and also held apparel merchandising roles with Sears, Dress Barn, Macy’s and Lord & Taylor.

The Bon-Ton operates 272 stores, which includes 10 furniture galleries, in 25 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under banners such as Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers.

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