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Vicky Nolan

The Incogno E-commerce Alternative

10 January 2001

While many Net betting operators are flush with American bettors regularly visiting their sites, an insidious problem is decimating those customers' ability to pay and play. The problem involves using credit cards to pay for anything, including gambling, over the Internet. First, credit card companies and card issuing banks have told customers that they cannot use their credit cards to gamble online. Further, many customers are leery of using their credit cards for any online purchases for fear they'll be the victims of fraud. As a result, e-betting merchants face the loss of many customers, unless something can be done.

There are some solutions, although only a few are widely used. Customers have long used a variety of payment systems, such as checks and wire transfer, for their Net betting pursuits. Newer methods, such as e-cash, smart cards and debit cards, micropayment systems and more have begun supplementing these methods. Plus, several companies are offering Internet merchants the ability to offer their customers transactional anonymity.

One such company is Incogno Corporation, which offers business-to-consumer privacy solutions via its Incogno SafeZone TM and Incogno Mail products.

"Studies have shown that buyers want increased privacy and security," explained Joseph McIsaac, Incogno's chief technology officer. When merchants offer Incogno to their customers, it's "remarkably simple" and causes no change in the transaction for consumers, he added.

SafeZone protects the buyer's information by encrypting it so that only the bank sees the financial information, protecting the consumer from fraud. The level of anonymity can be adjusted to provide full anonymity or credit card anonymity. The merchant never sees the customer's name, email address and physical address. Further, the merchant never receives, stores or transmits the customer's credit card information in unencrypted form, greatly reducing the risk for fraud. SafeZone also features fraud screening and authentication services to further protect the merchant.

"Rather than relying on promises and distrusted privacy policies, Incogno uses technology to enforce privacy," added CEO Sibley Reppert. "By providing a 'safe zone' where consumer information is protected before the merchant ever sees it, Incogno makes buying online as safe and anonymous as a cash purchase at the corner store."

Working in conjunction with SafeZone, Incogno Mail creates an alias email address for the customer to use during a transaction. This email address is sent to the merchant as part of the Incogno SafeZone payment process, without revealing the customer's true email address to the merchant. Only the designated merchant can use that email alias and the buyer can disable the email exchange at any time.

Incogno Mail allows the merchant to contact customers using their alias email addresses. In that event, the Incogno Mail Server translates the alias email address into the user's correct email address and then forwards the message on, and when the customer replies, the email undergoes a reverse process by the Incogno Mail Server.

While competing products are available, McIsaac said, Incogno is the first to enable merchants to capitalize on their customers' desire for privacy and security. Similar products add an extra layer of burden for the user to overcome when making an online transaction.

Customers use Incogno's service free-of-charge, while merchants pay a small per transaction fee. There is no upfront licensing fee, and Incogno provides merchants with the necessary enabling software at no charge.

Incogno also stands out for its compliance with the data privacy laws enacted by 25 nations around the world. McIsaac believes that many gaming companies may run into problems for violating current or potential data privacy laws that forbid collecting personal information about customers.

He also maintains that beyond providing a valuable service for customers, I-gaming operators that sign on with Incogno can promote their security and privacy consideration.

"It creates a benevolent dependency," he said, add that customers will stick with operators that meet this "comfort issue."

The Incogno E-commerce Alternative is republished from
Vicky Nolan
Vicky Nolan