The HIPAA Privacy regulations require the protection and confidential handling of protected health information. Health care providers and organizations must develop and follow procedures that ensure the confidentiality and security of protected health information when it is electronically transferred, received, handled, or shared.
Yet when one does a seemingly private Internet search for various health issues, ailments, disease conditions, medicines, doctors, or hospitals, handling of that data is largely unregulated and becomes a fountainhead of gold in the right hands.
Search dental implants, breast enlargement, or podiatrists and before the end of the day your email is inundated with related ads. If you search for a washer, dryer, a new car or vacation – you can best believe you will bombarded with pop-up and banner ads for these goods.
The recent Facebook-Cambridge Analytics episode clearly shows that privacy is evaporating on the web. Facebook collected and apparently had available enormous amounts of data for third parties to harvest, generally without knowledge of the data owners.One would think this constitutes a disregard of privacy rights. Facebook acknowledged that as many as 87 million people were affected by this data breach.
The situation has deteriorated to such a degree that the CEO of Apple, Tom Cook, has called privacy a “human right”. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has even indicated an openness to regulation.
Fluent, Inc. (Nasdaq: FLNT) is an under-followed company that recently became a sole operating subsidiary following a recent spinoff of its data and analytical solutions company, Red Violet (Nasdaq: RDVT), through a dividend to shareholders. The public Company changed its name to Fluent, Inc. on 4/16/18.
Fluent is an industry leader in data-driven digital marketing services, focusing on customer acquisition.Serving over 500 leading consumer brands and direct marketers, Fluent enables advertisers to more effectively target and engage their most valuable customers with precision, and at massive scale.
Fluent deals with the data privacy issue in a more straight forward, transparent manner. Fluent collects first-party data from millions of opted-in, registered users who “have raised their hand” with an interest in a product or service. Importantly, Fluent does not expose collected data points.
By using first party user-declared data, Fluent can more accurately target the right audience with the right offers in real-time, in order to drive and optimize results.Its business model is built on a pay-for-performance paradigm.
According to the Company’s latest Annual Report filed on 3/14/18 with the SEC on Form 10-K, Fluent owns hundreds of media properties, through which they engage millions of consumers everyday with interactive content, such as job postings, cost savings, surveys, promotions and sweepstakes that generate on average over 850,000 consumer registrations and over 8.8 million compiled survey responses daily, with a record high of over 1.0 million registrations and over 10.3 million compiled survey responses in a single day. Their owned media properties alone have created a database of approximately 150 million U.S. adults with detailed profiles, including 224 million unique email addresses, across over 75 million households.
Customers include Finish Line, Western Digital, Shoe Carnival, Western Union, Cheap Flights and BuildDirect. It has ongoing partnerships with Salesforce Marketing Cloud , Oracle Marketing Cloud, Adobe Cloud, and Neustar among others.
Management’s guidance in a Feb. 21, 2018 press release was that post the spin-off of Red Violet, the Company is expected to be immediately profitable and that for full-year 2018, as a stand-alone public company Fluent would post $238M-$245M in revenue and $38M-$45M in EBITDA. Respective pro-forma revs from 2017 fy 10k filing were $182 and $212 million with EDITDA adjusted of $23.5 and $34 million (2016 and 2017).
On April 2, Ryan Schulke the CEO and Pres Matt Conlin, purchased combined total of 240,000 shares on the open market. Earlier in Feb 13, Mr Schulke reported an open market purchase of 100,000 shares of Fluent at an average price of $2.93.
As of April 3, 2018, there were approximately 75 million shares of common stock outstanding.
Indeed as we write this we learn that a U.S. federal judge in San Fransisco discloses that Facebook must face a class action lawsuit alleging that the network unlawfully used facial recognition software on photos without user permission. Thus another front opens on the invasion of individual privacy.
In a new world where privacy is once again taking center stage, Fluent may be one of the important beneficiaries as consumers and corporations are increasingly more cognizant of data privacy concerns. While it is not clear if or how Congress may act at this point with respect to possible regulations, it is clear corporations and consumers will be more circumspect
I do not hold a position with the issuer such as employment, directorship, or consultancy. I and/or others I advise do not hold a material investment in the issuer's securities.
1.Privacy issues taking center stage in US and Europe.
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