How to Lose All Your Internet Marketing Clients (using Google Calendar)

It happened so innocently and without any ill-intent. That’s what makes this all the scarier.

At our office, we’ve been working on better ways to manage our project status, tasks, etc.. between employees and management. One of the things we discussed was which calendar sharing program we should all use – some of us were using Outlook, others were used to using some type of desktop calendar time-management program, and myself – Google calendar.

Now I have used Google’s docs, various widgets (toolbar, igoogle, notebook, reader, maps, etc….)for quite a while now, and am quite aware of what to keep private and what to make public.

I realized when getting ready to share my google calendar with my co-workers that once I made it public, anyone could see it, so I nitched that idea pretty quick.  After discovering this though, I thought “well, it might be interesting to see if anyone DID post some public calendars up”… So I shuffled through the calendars under the search term “internet marketing”. Like I originally thought, most of the visible posts were either promotion dates for a company, such as company outings or training seminars – a few boring task dates such as, “perform campaign recap”, or “check PPC activity”, etc… and then there was this, which I made sure was cleaned up a little –

Maybe NOT the best place to store Credit Card Info for your Clients

Maybe NOT the best place to store Credit Card Info for your Clients

Holy Crap.
That’s great. Your client provides you with their Credit Card #, the little 3 digit code on the back, expiration date, Full Name AND address and what do you do with that, brilliant marketing company? Wait ….I know this one….. oh yeah – post it in a PUBLIC CALENDAR!!?

I actually debated for a few moments on how to handle this one. Was this just a case of a rookie employee not understanding the privacy status of the calendar, or was this blatent negligence by a company that warrented us notifying the victim personally?

I won’t tell you what we did, but I will say that ignorance and stupidity don’t get you too far in court, so if you are in a position where you deal with or have access to client information, or anyone’s personal information – think before you stick that info up on the internet. Even if you THINK it’s secure.