Saturday, March 31, 2007


The recent theft of nearly 46 million credit-card numbers over the past five years at TJX was most likely the work of a group of hackers who "installed what were probably rootkits and Trojans on the retailer's network at various locations," according to Larry Walsh of the VARBusiness Network.

My question: could TJX possibly have not been PCI-compliant? If not, why not? Why would they not have been in the "compulsory" category for a third-party audit? And if they passed, what does that say about the whole PCI process?

As alarming as the TJX situation is, I am more alarmed at the PCI situation, myself. Is the entire PCI infrastructure like airport security, a lot of aggravating razzmatazz that still doesn't provide security where it is needed most, i.e., against an "inside job"?

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Legendary Bob Stone Has Died

Though not related to systems issues, direct marketing pioneer Bob Stone passed away Feb. 26 after a long career as a practitioner, author, educator and mentor. He was 88. Bob was such a towering figure in this industry that his passing deserves our attention. To quote the DM News coverage of Bob's passing:

Mr. Stone was known for his bestselling book "Successful Direct Marketing Methods" that went into several reprints and influenced many of today’s direct marketing industry executives. He was also co-founder with Aaron Adler of Stone & Adler, a direct marketing agency that elevated direct marketing’s role in the Midwest and with many advertisers.

"Bob and his partner, Aaron, changed the way large corporations – brand marketers – saw direct marketing," said Ron Jacobs, president of Jacobs & Clevenger Inc., Chicago. "Rapp Collins and Wunderman really changed the face of direct marketing. Stone & Adler did it in Chicago."

Stone & Adler’s clients included Amoco Oil Co., AT&T, Allstate, Hewlett Packard, Old American Insurance, Southwestern Bell, United Airlines and Sears, Roebuck & Co. The agency worked with AT&T to publicize the 800 number – an achievement that revolutionized telemarketing and direct response television and radio.

"Bob was a true gentleman in all the ways one can describe – he was kind and generous,” said Lester Wunderman, chairman emeritus and founder of direct marketing agency Wunderman, New York. "He was willing to share his knowledge and taught in the Midwest what we now call direct marketing.

"Chicago was always a center of direct marketing in a mercantile way, when you think of Sears, Roebuck and Montgomery Ward," he said. "But Bob made it into a personal practice. His agency was the agency for the 800 number, and that was perhaps one of the most important contributions. The 800 number made direct marketing possible in contemporary heritage."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sigma Opens Second Office in India

Sigma Micro, developer of the SigmaCommerce integrated order management and fulfillment solution for catalog, web store, call center and point of sale direct marketers, has announced it has opened a new software development center in Chandigarh, India, their second in that country.

Sigma Micro opened its first development facility in India in Kochi and has been operational there since January 2005. Both offices work closely with the US HQ office in Indianapolis, Indiana, to provide detailed technical design, programming, and testing for SigmaCommerce.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Fry Acquires Pinnacle Rock

Fry, Inc., an e-commerce design, development and managed services provider, has announced the acquisition of San Francisco-based Pinnacle Rock Associates (PRA), which provides a multi-channel order management and fulfillment system along with business and technology consulting services to multi-channel retailers, catalogers and consumer goods manufactures.

"The acquisition of Pinnacle Rock Associates complements Fry's existing offerings to retail and consumer goods clients," said David Fry, president and chief executive officer of Fry, Inc. "We are very excited to integrate the expertise of the PRA team into Fry. Fry has always been a leader in providing transactional Ecommerce solutions. With the added services and experience of the PRA team, we can now offer clients enhanced services across the entire retail value chain."

Pinnacle Rock Associates, which has 35 employees, will operate as a division within Fry. The San Francisco office of PRA, along with Fry's San Francisco office, will expand Fry's presence on the West coast.

During the past year, Fry and Pinnacle Rock worked on joint projects together for major retailers. "In the time we've worked with the PRA team, we realized there was a natural fit and a cultural connection beyond periodic projects," Fry said. "We complement each other's services, and together we'll be able to better serve clients as well as enhance our market position."

Terms and financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

NCOF Preconference Session

On Sunday, April 29, I will be doing a day-long preconference presentation at the National Conference on Operations and Fulfillment (NCOF) in Schaumburg, IL, on specifying, selecting and implementing direct commerce software, followed by an overview discussion of the available order management systems. I will be joined in the overview sessions in the afternoon by Steve Mulaik of The Progress Group, who will cover Warehouse Management Systems, and Trisha Tubbs, Director, SoftResources LLC covering Retail Point of Sale solutions.

To register for this intensive seminar, contact NCOF

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Datamann Acquires The Computer Connection

Datamann, Inc. of Wilder, Vermont, vendor of the MOSP order management system, acquired The Computer Connection, Inc., of White River Junction, VT, as the new division of Datamann offering CounterPoint POS solutions, plus software training and network support.

Datamann made room for the new division by renovating its facility, including building new offices and an additional conference room.

Founded in 1981, Computer Connection provides point of sale and retail management solutions.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hershey’s Gifts Selects GSI Commerce

March 5, 2007 – GSI Commerce Inc. (NASDAQ: GSIC), a leading provider of eCommerce solutions, today announced it has signed a multi-year agreement with The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY), "North America’s leading chocolate and confectionery manufacturer," to provide a full-service, direct-to-consumer solution for its online gift store and catalog, Hershey’s Gifts ( and Mauna Loa (

Services GSI will provide to Hershey include eCommerce and order processing technologies, personalization and fulfillment of chocolate gifts, and customer care support for Web, catalog and business consumers.

The Hershey Company agreement marks GSI’s entry into the online retail category of specialty foods. GSI provides solutions for over 60 partner clients through an integrated eCommerce platform comprised of three components: technology, logistics and customer care, and marketing services.
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