"A marketplace is a good idea for privacy-enhancing technologies."
- Ari M. Schwartz - Internet Policy Advisor @
The National Institute of Standards and Technology
Contrary to the initial assumption that some people have, the online marketplace of PricePoint actually enhances confidentiality, compared to traditional pricing methods of published tariffs, spreadsheet, and email quotes. A number of my blog posts make reference to PricePoint's privacy structure (see Privacy label for other posts), which is appropriate as privacy is the most essential design consideration which makes PricePoint work so well. This post will be an overview of our core privacy features.
Passwords/FirewallsBeyond the landing page (www.griprocure.com) PricePoint is entirely ID/password-secured application. Each user ID is governed by strict firewall protocols. i.e. No agent can access any other agent's data, pricing, etc.
Privacy/Discount SettingsWhen an Agent signs-in to PricePoint, the first thing they see is their Privacy/Discount settings page. This shows the Agent all of our Client/Bookers who potentially have access to the Agent's pricing. That access permission is directly controlled by the Agent. The Agent can apply "Restricted" status to any of the Clients, which applies an immediate and complete firewall so that Client will have no access to that Agent's pricing. Alternatively, the Agent can discreetly apply percentage price discounts/increases to any of the Client Bookers. These settings are of course entirely confidential to the Agent.
Tariff (in)visibilityAs addressed in another post, traditional tariffs are often price-inflated because the Agent does not want their truly competitive pricing to fall into the hands of a competitor. To safeguard against this (and in turn encourage competitive pricing), PricePoint's firewalls do not allow ANY other companies to view an Agent's tariffs except for the Agent themselves. Not even our Client users can view the tariffs, who instead use our Price Calculator tool for specific shipment size quotes. This protection prevents a Booker's potential rogue employee from taking screenshots of any Agent's tariff and distributing to unauthorized parties.
Confidential discount/increase applicationSince Bookers cannot see your Tariffs, nor your Privacy/Discount settings, they will not know if your are applying a percentage increase or discount to them, unless you choose to tell them of a favorable discount. Any increase/discount will be automatically applied to any price quotes for that Booker via PricePoint.
10 day waiting periodWhenever a new Booker joins the PricePoint Client Group, an announcement email is sent out by PricePoint Admin (email@example.com) to all Agents. The Agents then have at least 10 days to adjust their Privacy/Discount settings BEFORE that new Booker is granted any pricing access.
Geographic privacy protocolsDuring that 10 day period, PricePoint Admin will apply default Restricted status on behalf of any Agents who are based in the same country as the new Client Booker. This is based on the presumption that the Agent and Booker are competitors in that country. This serves as a precaution in case the Agent did not see or failed to act on the 10 day wait period announcement.
Confidentiality/NDAsFinally, all our Client Bookers must sign our User Agreement before receiving access to authorized Agent pricing. A central highlighted provision in the Agreement is their acknowledgement that all Agent pricing is to be treated as highly confidential and cannot be shared with any other moving companies.
In sum, we expect any participating company would agree that this array of security measures provides far better privacy assurances than any traditional methods of tariffs, spreadsheets, emails, etc.