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07-22-2015, 02:06 PM   #1
New Member

Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 20
idiosyncrasy of how Q&A's are provided by on B&H site

Dear Chuck and Henry,

I've been using B&H and B&H website for many years. And I've always found your website being very informative, mostly ergonomic and convenient, so, frequently, I use it as a reference for a particular product.
But just yesterday, I encountered the feature that does not work well (despite the good intentions): Q&A.

Right now, it works as follows:
You submit your question (if it hadn't been matched to those answered), and you magically start receiving notices about all the answers posted. One one hand, that's nice, - you get informed about answers.
So, what's the problem? There are several:

1. The messages come from a third-party company (your contractor, while claiming being from B&H Photo.
That's the way dismissed in early 2000s!
Yes, it is a common practice for contractors to send e-mails on behalf of their clients, but a common practice is to use a third-level domain (e.g. for that. Otherwise, those looks as spoofed messages. And a good practice about spoofed messages is not to use any links in them (e.g. unsubscribe).

2. Having posted a question and having started receiving notifications, - I have very limited control about those notification: I cannot unsubscribe from the particular question (thread). The only option is to unsubscribe from all notifications. But then, since there is no option to subscribe to the notifications when posting a question, - I would have no way of receiving notifications in the future.

A good practice used by many community forums and Q&A sections (e.g. Amazon, Adobe, ..) is that they allow one to subscribe to and unsubscribe from the notifications about responses for each individual thread separately, and at any time: during the original posting, and at any point later.

I submitted these suggestions (item 2) via your website feedback form, and quickly received a response from Phil that I should contact . But I am not their client ( I am your customer.) - they have no interest of listening to me. You are their clients, and they should listen to you.

So, with these two items, - I hope you pass these suggestions to the right person/people at B&H who deals with TurnTo(Networks).com

Now the last issue is a question for you:

3. I neither gave an authorization nor even got informed that my information from my B&H account (Name and e-mail, I assume) would be shared with a 3rd party. Now that they have that information in their database, - do you have any control over that? Or do you have a contract clause that prevents them from selling or using that information for their own marketing purposes?

07-23-2015, 07:52 AM   #2
B&H Photo Specialist
Chuck-B&H's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Location: New York
Posts: 905

Thank you for this feedback and for using our websites Q+A feature. As you mentioned, Social discussions are common place across many industries including retail. I often joke with friends that my 10 year old son would first watch web review videos before putting an item on his Christmas list.

I want to up front respond to: “while claiming being from B&H Photo”. This is absolutely not true. I and my staff answer many of these questions [as I am happy to do here] and anything labeled as answered by a “B&H STAFF MEMBER” came from my team; the rest are from customers. TurnTo does not answer any questions posted on our web site.

Our Websites Q+A is hosted by a company called TurnTo who is a leader in this industry. Many online dealers use them or similar companies. The reason being the mechanics behind the scenes are complex and letting a company who specializes in this field seemed like the better option than doing it ourselves. One drawback [which we have requested as a feature enhancement] is the notice E-mails do not come from a B&H domain.

Another feature of the TurnTo platform is you do in fact get E-mail notifications for a question you post without the ability to stop them from coming. According to TurnTo, these E-mails stop after 10 notifications. This is a TurnTo functionality and not something B&H has control over.

Let me explain how our approach to Q+A differs from some of the other E-retailers that have this feature. These platforms by design; run on their own. You may notice many question s on other web sites that have no answers, responses that are inappropriate [for many reasons] or have wrong information. My staff monitors all questions and after a period of 24 hours, if a question has not received an answer, a moderator assigns the question for answering to specific agent’s familiar with the product. We also review customer responses for quality control to the best of our ability [the volume of customer participation prevents us from reviewing every response].

We do as practice work with outside companies to better serve our customers. We do research these businesses before partnering with them and our owner never has nor would never tolerate the selling of customer information for marketing or advertising purposes. We have done this for some time and to date have never had a problem.

Please see this link for more details: Privacy & Security

B&H also shares information with outside companies that perform services for B&H. For example, when a customer signs up for our e-mail newsletters, B&H will provide the customers e-mail address to third party e-mail distribution companies that transmit e-mails on behalf of B&H. Your e-mail address will not be used by these companies for any purpose other than for the transmission of e-mails for B&H.
We may retain outside companies to assist us in managing our customer information database or to update and correct customer information for future marketing purposes. B&H takes steps to ensure the confidentiality of your information and to make sure it is not used for other purposes.

B&H has carefully selected a few companies to assist us in better understanding how our customers use our site. We will place cookies on your computer to collect information. The information that is collected through these cookies tells us things, such as which search engine referred you, how you navigated around our site, which pages you browsed, what you purchased and what traffic is driven by banner ads and e-mails. The companies analyze the information they collect from our site and return it to us through a secure connection. We use this information to help us understand your interests in our site and how to better serve you. It also helps us provide you with more personalized product offerings.

Thank you again for posting your concerns and asking for our assistance as Henry and myself are always happy to help. I hope this addresses your concerns and regret it caused you any doubt.

C h u c k C a p r i o l a
Live Chat and E-Mail Sales Manager
B&H Photo-Video
B&H Photo Video Digital Cameras, Photography, Camcorders

Thank you for choosing B&H, we appreciate your business.

*** Peace on Earth ***
07-23-2015, 01:30 PM   #3
New Member

Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 20
Original Poster
Dear Chuck,

Thank you for your quick and detailed response!

I would liket to clarify a few details:

1. Shortly after I posted the message to the forum here, I received the second (followup) e-mail response from Phil (B&H websupport), who (1) informed that he forwarded my suggestions about per-question subscription/unsubscription to your IT team and TurnTo, and (2) provided the same reference to the privacy policy (as you did). So, his second response was very reasonable, and I may have not posted my comments here if I had received that response in the first place.

2. "The messages come from a third-party company (your contractor, while claiming being from B&H Photo".
- this is about e-mail notifications that (as you acknowledged) arrive from address but have "B&H Photo" written in the "From" field, next to that address. I.e. it looks like this:
From: B&H Photo <>

3. It is the fact how these notifications were sent from TurnTo that started me worrying about the privacy issue.
In my experience, if the company in its communication (phone, e-mail, snail mail) does not distinguish clearly between "From [Client Company]" and "On behalf of [Client Company]"[*], such misrepresentation is a huge red flag: Either the company does not understand proper business practices or it is a scam attempt. In either case, I wouldn't trust such a company that they wouldn't misuse or mishandle my e-mail address.
[*] And if the e-mail message was from, say, "B&H Photo <>" that would be legitimate "From B&H".

4. Now, about "Our Websites Q+A is hosted by a company called TurnTo who is a leader in this industry".
I don't know that sector, so, your statement might be true.
But I see that they do not use their own e-mail distribution system. Rather, they are using e-mail distribution service provided by SailThru (, which is a marketing company, seemingly separate from TurnTo. SailThru is one of the "Big Data" companies. And I am sure you know what type of data such companies can be interested in. They now have my e-mail address, and possibly name in their mail-distribution database.
Even if B&H IT team is aware of this fact (I hope and assume they are), - is B&H aware about information (e-mail address) retaining policy by SailThru company and what is written about that in the contract between TurnTo and SailThru. "The vassal of my vassal is not my vassal."
07-23-2015, 02:19 PM   #4
B&H Photo Representative
henryp's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 480
To allay your concerns. B&H has been working with this system for some time and we have EVERY confidence that it is safe, reliable, secure and that everyone involved in this system is equally committed to your privacy and to retaining your confidence. We would not be engaged in this endeavor with these partners if we had, for a second, a shadow of doubt in this regard. You've already gotten the technical replies so I hope this less-technical and more personal response serves to confirm the security of this system.


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