Portals must help allay consumer fears of hacker vandalism

Holy portal site, Batman! These guys sure move quick! Let's see - in the four weeks since AOL announced its takeover of Time Warner in the U.S., the Canadian media and communications scene has been marked by such impressive deals as...

Holy portal site, Batman! These guys sure move quick! Let’s see – in the four weeks since AOL announced its takeover of Time Warner in the U.S., the Canadian media and communications scene has been marked by such impressive deals as GTC Transcontinental Group buying out Telemedia Publishing, BCE teaming up its Sympatico Internet property with Lycos, Rogers Communications snapping up control of Le Groupe Vidéotron, Quebec’s biggest cable service provider, and, most recently, Bell Mobility inking a strategic alliance with Yahoo!, the most popular search engine on the Web. Guaranteed, there’s more to come over the coming weeks and months.

It’s already been said here that the AOL-Time Warner deal would accelerate the pace of change and consolidation in the Canadian media and communications industries, but what we’re witnessing right now borders on the riotous. Eventually, everyone at this big media hoedown – or is it Ecstasy-juiced rave? – is going to have to choose a dance partner or three and attend to the really fun part of the adventure…creating a string of new services that consumers will find compelling enough to pay good money for.

Although the promise of richly interactive entertainment and information programming is the current ‘no-brainer’ being held out to entice consumers into the online realm, virtually all the key players are holding out hope for a massive surge in consumer-driven e-commerce activity in the relatively near future. That is, after all, where everyone seems to think the motherlode of online profits lie, and it’s certainly a prospect that appeals to advertisers seeking to connect with key customer segments.

Unfortunately, as promising as all the signals may have been over the last Christmas shopping period, online e-commerce has hit an unfortunate hurdle in its quest to gain widespread consumer acceptance…namely, hacker vandalism.

Everyone knows consumers were just starting to get over their anxieties about Web-based e-commerce, but with the widely publicized recent news of computer hackers successfully attacking some of the biggest and most popular sites on the Web, the Internet has suffered a serious setback in its growth trajectory.

Despite the launch of international criminal investigations, dire government declarations and heightened consumer fears, the electronic media party is not about to come to an abrupt end. However, one has to hope that the companies at the forefront of the current new media revolution pause to consider the potential risks that lie ahead and take serious steps to allay rapidly mounting consumer fears.

David Bosworth

dbosworth@brunico.com

Corner Officer Shifts: Martin Fecko leaves Tangerine

Plus, PointsBet Canada and Thinkific name new marketing leaders as Lole gets a new ecommerce VP.
Corner Office

Martin Fecko departs Tangerine 

After roughly two years of serving as Tangerine’s chief marketing officer, Martin Fecko has a new gig. And this time, the financial services vet will apply his marketing leadership to a new sector, having been named CMO of Dentalcorp.

Fecko will lead the dental network’s end-to-end patient journey, support its overall growth, and work to maximize patient experiences across every touchpoint, the company said in a release.

“Martin’s in-depth expertise in engaging and retaining customers through a digitally enabled experience will be valuable in realizing our vision to be Canada’s most trusted healthcare network,” said Dentalcorp president Guy Amini.

Prior to joining Scotiabank’s digital-only banking brand in late-2019, Fecko was country manager for Intuit Canada and spent 10 years at American Express in consumer and digital marketing.

PointsBet Canada nabs former Bell marketer as it pursues expansion

Dave Rivers has joined PointsBet, an online gaming and sports betting operator, as Canadian VP of marketing.

Rivers joins from Bell, where he was most recently director of brand marketing and sponsorship, responsible for driving the company’s national sponsorship strategy and portfolio. He will report to PointsBet Canada chief commercial officer Nic Sulsky.

According to Sulsky, Rivers will “play a key role as we prepare to launch a business that is unique to our roots here in Canada.”

PointsBet has a significant presence in Australia, where it was founded, and in the U.S. In July, it named Scott Vanderwel, a former SVP at Rogers, as CEO of its Canadian subsidiary, one of several hires aimed at establishing the company’s presence locally.

Thinkific names first CMO among other executive appointments

Vancouver’s Thinkific, a platform for creating, marketing and selling online courses, has appointed Henk Campher as its first chief marketing officer as it invests in marketing to support its growth plans. It has also upped Chris McGuire to the role of chief technology officer and moved former CTO and co-founder Matt Payne into the new role of SVP of innovation.

Co-founder and CEO Greg Smith said Campher and McGuire “will play key roles building high-functioning teams around them and optimizing investment as we continue to carve out an increasingly prominent and differentiated position in the global market.”

Campher joins from Hootsuite, where he was VP of corporate marketing. Before that, he was VP of brand and communications at CRM giant Salesforce.

Lolë names new VP of digital omni-commerce as parent company exits bankruptcy protection

The Montreal-based athletic apparel and accessories retailer has appointed Rob French as VP of digital omni-commerce.

French will lead Lolë’s efforts in consumer insights, supply chain-to-consumer models and online customer journeys. In what is a new role for the company, he will also work to grow the company’s retail brand. He arrives with sixteen years experience in ecommerce, having spent the last few years as chief digital commerce officer at sporting goods retailer Decathlon.

In May 2020, Lolë parent Coalision Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection, citing several years of losses as a result of a downturn in the retail clothing market, increased competition and excess inventory – problems exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of the filing, Coalision was seeking an investor or purchaser of its assets.

It successfully exited bankruptcy protection last year and is currently rebuilding its executive team, according to a spokesperson.