5 Questions with Mark Cuban About Online Privacy

mark-cubanIt might seem like a contradiction that an executive and celebrity with a huge public persona would be blazing trails for online privacy, but billionaire Mark Cuban is doing just that. Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and a star of CNBC’s Shark Tank, takes privacy so seriously that he has multiple business interests devoted to helping individuals and companies send and receive messages and post on social media more securely and more privately.

In a recent blog, I mentioned Cuban’s mobile app Cyber Dust, which enables users to send text messages that disappear in less than two minutes, turning to cyber “dust.” And I just learned that he also invested in Xpire, an app that helps consumers manage and minimize their digital footprints. After Huffington Post published my blog, I reached out to Cuban and asked if he would answer some additional questions about Cyber Dust and online privacy. He graciously agreed, so following are five questions with Cuban about online privacy.

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New Trend: Be Invisible Online 

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Businesses spend years and millions of dollars making it easier for customers to find them online, but an emerging trend suggests they also are seeking ways to be invisible.

A study last year from the Pew Internet Research Project found that most internet users would like to be anonymous online at least occasionally. The report said that 86 percent of users have taken steps to remove or mask their digital footprints—ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email, from avoiding using their name to using virtual networks that mask their internet address.

Technology companies have created ways to use the latest techno trappings—but without leaving a digital paper trail. I have often mused that being “off the grid” and therefore not beholden to technology could become the new status symbol, but in the meantime, some new offerings strive to hide and even erase online activities.Read More

Changing the PR Channel

vintage antennas david pr groupAs I have told my stunned teenage children, we only had four television channels when I was a kid.  Back in the day (and by this I mean before anyone ever said “back in the day”), before cable television, before the Internet, and way-before a full-season of House of Cards dropped in one day, we had four TV options: the local affiliate stations for ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS.  Television channels were broadcast over the airwaves (not Wi-Fi), and some TVs only showed footage in “black and white.”  Our viewing choices and channels were very limited, but we didn’t know any better.  Oh yeah, there was an informal fifth channel which I will call the “Shut-Off the TV and Go Play Outside Channel,” but the details of that one are best left to another post.

I have been thinking about channels a lot lately but mainly communications and distribution channels for our marketing messages.  We need to seek them out, manage them, sometimes pay for them and often create our own.

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Storytelling Returns to Marketing

G1057-Once-Upon-A-Time-Large-600x600-300x300What do every great movie, book and marketing campaign have in common? The answer: a great story. Now this may seem like an old mantra, but as Internet marketing dominated our agendas in recent years, we focused our energy heavily (and a bit too much in my opinion) on keywords, tags, short-form posts, tweets, etc. While it’s OK to be brief in your communications, we can’t let our story suffer because of the medium. And with the continued fragmentation of media, we need to return to telling stories because it sets our message apart and helps our meaning ring clear amid the noise in the marketplace of attention.Read More

If I Were LeBron’s PR Guy…

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The winds of backlash are again brewing near the shores of Lake Erie as Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans await “The Decision” part two. Rumors are flying that basketball superstar LeBron James may part ways with the Miami Heat and play for Cleveland. The idea that the Akron native might return to Ohio is not outside the realm of possibility. Read More

Disruptive Technology Merits Disruptive PR

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One of the big stories of the summer is the rise of ridesharing services. You may have heard of the major players (companies Uber and Lyft) or seen one of the Lyft cars — distinguishably marked with a rather undistinguished-looking pink mustache.

For the uninitiated, ridesharing offers an alternative to traditional taxis. Read More

U.S. Soccer’s No-Win Scenario

tumblr_inline_n728eq6QvQ1rd9ng2In an interview with The New York Times back in December, Jurgen Klinsmann, coach of the U.S. mens national soccer team (USMNT), said that the U.S. can’t win the World Cup which begins today in Brazil. After the story came out, I was truly surprised that Klinsmann, even though he is German, would ever suggest such a thing to American fans. How dare anyone say we can’t win before the matches even start? Sacrilege. He caught some heat for the statement, but I figured it was just a media training lapse. Then yesterday, he said it again! In my opinion, Klinsmann’s attitude is emblematic of why soccer can’t seem to catch on in the U.S.

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Should the U.S. have Google’s “Right to be Forgotten” too?

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Google last week unveiled a system which enables citizens of the European Union to ask the search engine to remove results from its listings. The move comes in response to a landmark E.U. court ruling which gave people there the “right to be forgotten.”Read More

Every Business Needs a Reputational Firewall

In 2006, 60 Minutes aired a story about a famous, yet secretive hedge fund billionaire who was embroiled in a stock-shorting lawsuit. While the story itself was interesting, one thing that struck me was that 60 Minutes didn’t have a photograph of the famous trader. The background was that he had purchased the rights to any photos taken of him and prevented his image from being published anywhere.Read More