I published one of these five years ago, way ahead of its time, which I believe has now come. (Evidence: @BenGrubb‘s victory over Telstra.*)
So here we go again:
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all customers are born free, that they are endowed by their creator with innate abilities to relate, to converse and and to transact — on their own terms, and in their own ways. When sellers have labored long and hard to restrict those freedoms, and to ignore and insult the capacities enjoyed naturally by customers — by speaking, for example, of “targeting,” “capturing,” “acquiring,” “retaining,” “managing,” “locking in” and “owning” customers as if they were slaves — and when sellers work to inconvenience customers to the exclusive benefit of sellers themselves, for example through “loyalty programs” that require customers to carry around cards that thicken’ wallets and slow checkout in stores, it is the right of customers to obsolete the coercive systems to which both sellers and customers have become accustomed. We do this by providing ourselves with new tools for leveraging our native human powers, for the good of ourselves and sellers alike.
We therefore resolve to construct relationships in which we, the customers, control our own data, hold rights to metadata about ourselves, express loyalty at our own grace, deal in common and standard ways with all sellers and other second and third parties, protect our private persons and spaces, assert fair terms and means of engagement that work in mutually constructive ways for both ourselves and the other parties we engage, for the good of all.
We make this Declaration as free and independent persons, each with full agency, ready to form agreements, make choices, assert commitments, transact business, and otherwise function in the free and open environment we call The Marketplace.
To this we pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our precious time and attention.
Comments and improvements welcome.
*Read the whole thing. It matters. Hugely.
By the way, I’ll be in New Zealand and Australia the week after next, keynoting Identity 2015 in Wellington and Customer Tech X in Melbourne, where I will also be on a number of panels. I’ll also be in Sydney for one day before heading back. Hope I can also hook up with some of the growing number of VRM companies there. There are many on the VRM Developers List. (More on a separate post later.)