Once Again, Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts

Perusing the Wall Street Journal yesterday while waiting for the start of a meeting, our CTO noticed an alluring full page ad (those aren't cheap) for "inome" a new insight/intelligence app to...

Give people an accurate view of the unique footprint of everyone around them.

Well, here at C[IQ] we're all about customer intelligence, so how could he resist?  Off to the web browser he went.  And from there, we turn it over to Greg...

Right, so I figure, "inome.com for the "information genome" of someone? OK, a clever brand, but I'm dubious so let's see the offering.  Turns out I must've been under a data rock for months.  And some of this may be old news to you, but after asking a couple of others who were equally unaware, I decided to share.

This thing, "inome" looks sexy enough, but I'm a bit uneasy in immediately realizing they need a starting point, and what better hook than your Facebook login, right?  WRONG.  Let me cut to the chase swiftly here: do not offer them your FB credentials to "see your own inome."  Don't do it.  At least not until you consider what I figured out below (all which I've quickly confirmed you can Google on your own.)

  1. "inome" is a rebranding play that happened last June, and it appears the majority of creative genius and novelty lies with the Company's marketing agencies.  I suppose it took a Wall Street Journal full page Ad to make me notice ;-)
  2. Just who is "inome," you ask.  Answer: its a (re)packaging of several well known, controversial (arguably criminal in ways and means), background check and investigation services from Intellius, ZabaSearch, and USSearch, for starters.
  3. This rebranding is a rebundling under a single umbrella name of several companies all founded, owned, or run by Naveen Jain.  Jain has added something called TalentWise to the mix.  Some may recognize Naveen Jain from years ago having founded another controversial business, "Infospace" which co-inky-dinky also changed its name last year to Blucora (Infospace/Bluecora is no longer formally connected to Jain.)
  4. So, starting with your FB credentials, inome wants to bring everything about a person available online together in a single location, extending their reach to not simply background checks, but lifestyle check-ups (sort of behavioral tracking in a rather insidious manner if I understand this correctly.)
  5. I can tell you from direct experience, this is the same company, which in order to perform a simple background check to (for instance) verify a last known address for someone, requires a $3 order to see the full record, and subsequently charges another $20 for a monthly membership not ordered, nor authorized after subtly gaining apparent authority to do so from a confusing exit survey led to confirm your receipt of the ordered data.

"The genomics of how we all fit together" is nothing jaw dropping innovative, breakthrough, or novel.  The promise of a new information genomic is as hollow as a Trojan horse.  Think twice about your source of customer intelligence.  And beware of geeks bearing gifts.

Oh and one last irritant about their name.  Recall the marketing joke played on American's with Evian water?  You know, that fancy French natural water, whose brand is coincidentally (or intentionally as they laugh in the brand strategy war room) actually "naive" spelled backward?  So why, oh why do I keep wanting to add a "c" when typing the inome brand name?  Freudian?  Subliminal?  Argh!


Gregory Miller, CTO

Greg has been in the tech sector as a software architect and engineer, product manager, marketing and biz dev exec., and even IP and privacy lawyer for 3 decades. He is currently on the Board of a non-profit tech foundation reinventing America's election technology, is a venture adviser in the Silicon Valley, and serves as the CTO for C[IQ] Strategies, Inc.