The Secret Shopper: Whose Privacy Is It, Anyway?

The Direct Marketing Association’s Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice, released last month, require members to post their privacy policies in a prominent place on their Websites. Marketers are required to post their physical address on their sites as well.

Surely, you say, catalogers already include both on their sites. In actuality, of the 20 Websites that The Secret Shopper visited on Feb. 13, four did not post privacy policies. These four were small businesses: specialty-size undergarment cataloger Decent Exposures; collectibles marketer Desperate Enterprises; quilt-supplies purveyor Hearthside Quilts; and Kids Art, which sells supplies for art instruction.

But the five catalogers that didn’t post a street address on their site weren’t all mom-and-pop shops. They included gardening supplies marketer Smith & Hawken, which also has a nationwide chain of stores, and, a division of retail behemoth Target. The Secret Shopper assumes they want to maintain their privacy.

Asia for Kids 1 1 does not offer an opt-out link
Ballard Designs 1 2 gives addresses for outlet store and order department but no corporate address
Bavarian Autosport 1 2 no link to opt out is supplied, just the e-mail address, though links are given for other e-mail addresses
Decent Exposures no privacy page on home page
Design Within Reach 1 2
Desperate Enterprises no privacy page 1 1 no address apparent Website for the Signals, Wireless, and Seasons gifts catalogs
Gooseberry Patch 1 no address apparent
Hearthside Quilts no privacy page on home page
J. Jill 2 2
Kids Art no privacy page on home page
Rue de France 2 no address apparent
Smith & Hawken 2 no address apparent gives driving directions under “customer service” but no street address
Sovietski Collection 1 1
The Sports Authority 1 2 the opt-out link is on a separate page from the privacy policy
Title Nine Sports 2 2 privacy policy is found under “mailing lists”
Tuttle Golf 3 1
West Marine 1 1
White Flower Farm 1 no address apparent gives driving directions to the farm but no street address
WinterSilks 1 1

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