|By Business Wire||
|December 10, 2013 05:36 PM EST||
A U.S. patent for a system that could reduce the need for large, central databases of user names and accounts –-a critical emerging privacy challenge-– has been granted to Clickshare Service Corp.
The Amherst-based company provides online registration, subscription, access control and billing services to dozens of newspaper and other information-publishing websites.
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.
The system both authenticates users across multiple independent web services and allows users to choose among multiple home-base registrars. In addition to its privacy implications, the technology covered by U.S. patent No. 8,606,719, “System for Management of Alternatively Priced Transactions on Network,” can reduce the need for users to have to have multiple online accounts.
“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.
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.
“Other Internet-based customer management systems for payments or demographic tracking have required the creation of massive, central names databases, raising difficult marketing, partnering and privacy issues,” said Bill Densmore, founder of Clickshare. “Our patented approach leaves customer ownership distributed among participating partners, and can put significant privacy control in consumer hands.”
Clickshare Service Corp. provides services for user registration, authentication, access control, subscription management, per-click purchasing, event ticket sales and online print subscription capture for the newspaper and media industries, registering over 3.3 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.
Formed in 1997, Clickshare 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.