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Clickshare awarded patent for system that could reduce need for central “big brother” databases or multiple user accounts

Posted on: December 10th, 2013 by wdensmore No Comments

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AMHERST, Mass., Dec. 10, 2013  – A Massachusetts company has patented a system that it says could reduce the need for large, central databases of user names and accounts – a key emerging privacy challenge – while also reducing the need for users to have to have multiple online accounts.

The U.S. Patent Office on Tuesday issued U.S. patent No. 8,606,719, “System for Management of Alternatively Priced Transactions on Network,” (PDF) to Clickshare Service Corp. The company already has a related patent for a “System for Management Payments on a Network – Four or More Parties,” and has been working on the service since at least 1997.

The key innovation, the company said, is a system which both authenticates users across multiple independent web services, and allows users to choose among multiple home-base registrars. The patent also describes methods for allowing the sharing of user preferences, and real-time, variable pricing of digital content.

“Our technology gives consumers control over who sees personal information, and creates the potential for publishers to conveniently share content and users across networks which permit variable pricing and service offerings,” said Richard Lerner, CEO.

The Amherst-based company provides online registration, subscription, access control and billing services for millions of customers of newspaper and other information-publishing websites.

In a key privacy aspect, the sharing system works when the consumer users are known to information-publishing websites — and the system itself — only by a unique number. Only the user’s chosen home base (required for account reconciliation) associates the number with a person, and even then, need not know which content the user purchases.

Under the system patented by Clickshare, a person can have an account at one website, and purchase information, manage identity information, and get paid for advertising viewing at multiple other websites without having to repeatedly register or pass around name or unique identity information.

Unlike services such as iTunes or Facebook Connect, users of a Clickshare system would be able to choose their “home base” yet have a single account that works at multiple sites without repeated registration.

”There has been no Internet-based customer management system for payments or demographic tracking which did not require the creation of a massive, central names database, raising difficult marketing, partnering and privacy issues,” says Bill Densmore, founder of Clickshare. “Clickshare’s patented approach leaves customer ownership distributed among participating partners, and can put significant privacy control in consumer hands.”

Clickshare said it continues to explore with its dozens of publishing clients applications for the technology.

The patent covers  a system which manages and controls user accounts, payments and anonymous access to Internet websites where there are four parties involved. The four parties are the consumer user, the consumer’s home-base website (where the consumer has an account and profile information), one or more information or service-vending websites where the consumer wishes to view or purchase, and a system website where the parties can authenticate, aggregate, transfer and share usage and billing data across the system. The new patent expands protection for the system first described by Clickshare in U.S. Patent No. 7,324,972 issue Jan. 29, 2008.

ABOUT CLICKSHARE

Clickshare has been providing services such as user registration, authentication, access control, subscription management, “per-click” purchasing, event ticket sales and online print subscription capture for the newspaper and media industries for over 10 years, registering over six million accounts.  The Clickshare System supports many models including traditional purchasing, B-to-B applications such as tracking and payment for advertising click-throughs, reliable exchange of consumer information, federated authentication and management of loyalty programs.

Some of Clickshare’s customers  include:

  • Boston Globe Media Partners (at Worcester, Mass.)
  • BH Media (Berkshire Hathaway) at The Omaha World-Herald
  • Sun-Times Media
  • Crain Communications Inc.

Clickshare was formed in 1997, is privately owned. It raised $2.9 million in initial equity capital through 2001, and has operated on revenues since. Shareholders include the University of Massachusetts, venture investors, PeopleSoft founder David Duffield and former publishing executives of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Reader and Philadelphia Inquirer.

Contacts
For Clickshare:
Edward Bride, 413-442-7718
[Ed@edbride-pr.com]

On Jan. 29, 2008, Clickshare was awarded (http://tinyurl.com/2wtlpu) U.S. Patent No. 7,324,972 for “Managing transactions on a network: four or more parties.” (Initial announcement: http://tinyurl.com/2ukwj4) The patent covers Clickshare’s federated authentication, transaction and personalization news and advertising social network.

Clickshare’s dynamic pricing idea emerges as focus of Internet commerce

Posted on: December 19th, 2010 by Bill Densmore No Comments

Starting in 1994,  the founders of Clickshare Service Corp. developed a prototype for “dynamic pricing” for information commerce on the web.  Now, 17 years later, the idea is emerging as a central tenant of ecommerce. 

What is “dynamic pricing”?  The ability to vary the price for a digital good in real time, depending upon the attributes of the user or the type of use the user intends.

TIME-BASED VALUE

Take a news story, for example.   Suppose a news organization breaks a big story — “hot news.”  For the first few minutes the story is out on the web, it may have great value. But soon, because you can’t copyright facts, other news organizations will pick up the raw facts and remix them into their own stories. So the ability of the first news organization that broke the story to charge for it drops quickly to zero. Later, the story goes into archives, and researchers looking for the origins of the story might be willing again to pay more for it.

USE-BASED VALUE

Take the same story. The initial use is mass-market. But what if the story is about a topic of ongoing significance to researchers, or a topic which affects the value of investments, or moves markets? The mixing of that story with other information might add to its value. So a niche user might find it of more value than the casual, mass-market user.

The public-radio program “On the Media” covers the topic in a Dec. 17 interview with Slate online magazine reporter Annie Lowery.  Is dynamic pricing legal? Lowery says yes.  She says online retailers might use your browsing history, your purchase history and even your browser type to figure out what to charge.

Here’s Clickshare’s patent application in this area. The Center for the Digital Globe, at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, is undertaking research on web content pricing in an environment where a content clearing house emerges.

Clickshare awarded patent for four-party content transactions

Posted on: November 19th, 2010 by Bill Densmore No Comments

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Clickshare Service Corp. was notified by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that it received a patent relating to its technology for creating a federated network of Internet web sites.

Clickshare has developed a unique system that networks web sites, allowing consumers to use existing accounts with trusted providers, to make secure, privacy-protected, purchases from any web site within the network. Consumers can make purchases from hundreds of vending websites without providing credit card-information to each site, using Clickshare’s Digital Calling Card (TM) technology. The consumer’s financial information resides with their trusted provider and the Clickshare Network settles payments among providers and vendors.

U.S. Patent No. 7,324,972 was awarded Jan. 29, 2008 for a “System for Management of Transactions on a Network: Four or More Parties.”

“Our technology gives consumers control over who sees personal information while simplifying the process of purchasing music, video, games and text across social and business networks,” said Rick Lerner, CEO.

The Clickshare System supports many models including traditional purchasing, B-to-B applications such as tracking and payment for advertising click-throughs, reliable exchange of consumer information, federated authentication and management of loyalty programs.

Clickshare has been providing services such as subscription management, “per-click” purchasing, event ticket sales and online print subscription capture for the newspaper and media industries for over 10 years. Its clients include Crain Communications Inc., the New York Times Co. (at Worcester, Mass.), The Sun Times Newspaper Group (Chicago Sun-Times and other papers), The McClatchy Co., Journal Register Co., as well as government agencies.

Clickshare Service Corp. is a privately-owned company based in Amherst, Mass. For more information, see http://www.clickshare.com.  (413) 253-7800.

Contacts
For Clickshare:
Edward Bride, 413-442-7718
Ed@edbride-pr.com

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