The internet has turned into a treasure-trove of user-generated content. From social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Yelp to content curation hubs like Kickstarter and other crowdfunding ventures, the web is all about enabling users to make what they want and connecting them to content they like.

Marketing in such an envionrment becomes tricky. This is why companies like Yotpo, a platform that allows businesses to market through social reviews and user-generated content, are continuing to raise money. The company itself won a $10.7 million Series A round this week.

The company allows its customers to track which sales have come through social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

This type of tracking will only become more important as social networking becomes more and more fragmented. Older metrics used in retail businesses, such as profit per square footage, are becoming less relevant in a time when bricks and mortar stores are used as experience points and not main selling centres.

Being able to recognise and use these metrics is critical in a digital environment. Platforms such as Yotpo make sense of a huge amount of data – data that businesses might not otherwise know how to use.

This raises a critical point. Those businesses which know how to operate using this type of data and decipher it will succeed in the modern, digital environment. Those who simply guess or make assumptions won’t know to navigate the social landscape – and will ultimately find it much more difficult.

Keeping on top of privacy laws

The notion of privacy is becoming extinct. As the concept of privacy and private information changes, businesses need to start thinking about how they will operate in a world

Google has been fined $US204,000 by the French privacy regulator, the National Commission on Computing and Freedom, for breaking laws regarding the country’s unified privacy policy.

This isn’t the first time a major computing body has been hit with privacy regulations, and it certainly won’t be the last. But it highlights yet again how careful businesses must be when navigating privacy – even when they are unaware of their obligations.

One of the consequences of Google’s actions is that it must now display a notification on its home page for two days explaining the privacy breach and the company’s role.

It’s yet another reminder privacy regulations are a key factor in doing business. Even though the consumers’ notion of privacy will continue to deteriorate, the actual legal obligations with privacy will only continue to strengthen. Being away of obligations and acting on them must be baked into doing business – not an afterthought – for ventures of all sizes.