home tEC Services Your Turn
Table of Content: CURRENT SERVICES

Roommates Matching
in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville (MA)

beta version
tEC, the Electronic Confidant

By Invitation Only

I The domain maker's perspective:

I-1 tEC Domains

tEC Fair Play Matching is a match engine which can be customized by domain makers according to any specific domain of interest,
e.g. dating in the Greater Boston area, real estate in San Diego CA, advances in search engine technology....
For a more detailed example about Fair Play, see the case of employee recruitment via job fairs.

It allows you to define, set up and operate a matching service in your domain of interest. With the support of ePrio's software client platform, tEC, the Electronic Confidant, and its mail server, you are free to concentrate on marketing and, when applicable, selling and billing.
Customization falls in two parts:

  • the criteria used for matching
  • the process governing how users are matched
Matching criteria are based in the following data types:
  • numeric valueNUM and numeric range RAN (integers with a fixed number of decimals)
  • date value DAT and date window WIN
  • single pick out of closed list COD and multiple picks out of closed list LST
  • boolean value BOO
  • (short) free text FRE and (long) free text TXT (which may be structured as a list of keywords by CR separators)
  • tEC or filter ID ID and list of tEC or filter ID's ADB (which plays the role of an address book)
All comparisons and their negations are supported within the same data type, allowing one to request:
  • equality (eg: NUM agaisnt NUM) or identity (eg: COD against COD, FRE against FRE, ID against ID)
  • belonging (eg: NUM against RAN or RAN against NUM, ID against ADB, ADB against ID)
  • overlapping (eg: RAN against RAN, LST against LST, ADB against ADB)
  • keyword searching (FRE against TXT, TXT against FRE and TXT against TXT
  • difference
  • non belonging
  • non overlapping
  • absence of key words
More complex decision making is supported with the following features:
  • weighted list: a series of simple criteria with weights attached. The sum of weights corresponding to simple criteria fulfilled is tested against a weight range. The weighted criteria succeeds if this score falls in the range.
    a weighted list implements "trading-off" between desirable qualities, or "scoring" profiles. One can also use a weighted criteria to declare logical construct such as: "A or B but not both" or "(both A and B) or (neither A nor B)".
  • profiling category:a series of simple or weighted criteria. The profiling category criteria succeeds if all listed criteria do.
Extra features handle quotas and super quotas, i.e. when some slots can be distributed on demand among several predefined quota segments.
The domain maker is responsible for using these features to define the filter templates with which end users can easily declare their wishes (symmetric matching, e.g. dating, uses one template, asymmetric matching, e.g. real estate, two templates).

To allow for automating matching, users are asked to enter their profile in advance with the help of self-profiling questionnaires (symmetric matching uses one questionnaire, asymmetric matching, two questionnaires).
The domain maker also needs to define these self-profiling questionnaire according to scripts built from the following elements:
  • questions (to actually supply a piece of information)
  • comments (to help the user about what's going on)
  • tests (to check on erroneous anwers and prompt for correction or to avoid unnecessary questions)
  • jumps
  • messages (profile-based suggestions which can be updated at any time as they are kept on the server and fetched live by the tEC client)
  • a break (to postpone questions such as name and telephone number whose answers are not necessary for matching)
Scripts further define the confidential information which the parties to a mutual match must or may exchange as they confirm their interest in acting on the match.
Scripts can also be used to collect anonymous statistics on user profiles, with user permission, via central counter incrementation.

ePrio has developped a special tEC application as a tool for filter template and self-profiling questionnaire definition. For more details read the tEC domain maker manual.

Matching Process is the result of a number of decisions to be made by the domain maker:
  • is the process permanent (virtual data base) or temporary (virtual fair)
  • in the case of virtual fairs, how many matching rounds are allowed for negotiation and according to what schedule
  • in the case of asymmetric matching on virtual data base, is there a reverse service allowing each side to post their own filters and wait for new opportunities
  • is mutual matching, the end result of tEC Fair Play Matching, to be followed by an exchange of tECmails in the corresponding domain, e.g. to send photographs or ask for more information
The two parts of the customization are not independent. For example, if a tEC Mail option is allowed, it is necessary to include tEC Mail filter ID's in the confidential information to be exchanged following a mutual match while the exchange of other contact information, such as name and telephone numbers, may be postponed to a later tECmail.

II- The company's perspective:

II-1 the tEC Seal Program

In order to fulfill the conditions of the tEC Seal Program, a company has to deploy at least two of the tEC services mentioned below.

The tEC Seal is granted by ePrio every year for four years in each industry to at most one company (or non for profit organization). It recognizes the commitment to respect the privacy of correspondents, be they prospects, customers or employees, beyond the traditional privacy policy and before the adoption of stronger measures as championed by ePrio becomes the norm.

II-2 In Depth Market Research with A-Propos

For each client, A-Propos.com (*) will host a page cross-referencing the client Internet site, the way to download tEC and the specific tEC services offered by the client. Interested Internet users will access this page either through the A-Propos listings or via a link from the client's own site.
The tEC services for market research fall into three categories:

  • market surveys:
    a tEC survey is custom made as the combination of:
    • a questionnaire, to elicit the personalized answers of each respondent
    • a filter, to select legitimate respondents according to their confidential profile
    The structure of the script and its embedded selection criteria is identical to what domain makers use to match correspondents in a particular domain of interest (see detailed specifications above).

    In addition a tEC market survey defines a series of online counters, one for each statistical result of the survey,
    e.g. tallying the number of 20 to 50 years old female respondents.
    Counters may also be used to limit the number of respondents according to a quota system, e.g. to filter out any socio-economic bias.

    Finally a tEC survey specifies, for each element of a respondent's confidential profile, whether as a result of the survey to:
    • require its communication (e.g. a personal comment)
    • suggest its communication (e.g. ZIP code)
    • avoid its communication, the default choice (e.g. name)

    Without sacrificing the quality of its results, a tEC market survey uniquely respects the respondents since it:
    • avoids asking unnecessary questions whenever the respondent does not satisfy the requirements of the survey
    • bypasses the need to ask for profile information by gathering statistics directly online without collecting individual answers
    • clearly asks for user permission whenever the collection of a specific piece of information is still required or suggested
    • does not collect any information at all whenever a respondent does not satisfy or refuses the requirements of the survey
  • focus group recruitment:
    focus group recruitment is done by tEC using a tEC market survey, with three special features:
    • the quota system defined by online counters can be two-tiered for greater flexibility
      e.g. seats for Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont plus some extra seats for New England
    • invited to participate in a focus group, selected respondents who agree are typically required to send more profile information
    • appointments may be handled using a separate tEC service to match selected participants with group schedules

    a tEC focus group recruitment uniquely respects the respondents as any tEC survey, especially knowing that:
    • the questions asked often paint a more confidential version of a respondent's profile
    • the ratio of rejected respondents is higher than in an ordinary survey
  • customer profile purchasing:
    customer profile purchasing is a form of tEC focus group recruitment where the result of being selected is the offer of a compensation rather than an invitation to participate to a focus group.

(*) the site is ready to be put online at short notice.

II-3 Personalized Sale Pitches with Ad-Reply

For each client and each advertisement code, Ad-Reply.com (*) will host a page cross-referencing the client Internet site, the way to download tEC and access the corresponding tEC service offered by the client. Interested Internet users will access this page either through the Ad-Reply listings, via a link from the client's own site or any other advertising media bought by the client.

A tEC sales pitch is a custom script structured like the selfprofiling questionnaires domain makers use to profile correspondents in a particular domain of interest (see detailed specifications above).

A tEC sales pitch uniquely respects the prospects since no information from a prospect needs to be collected unless and until the prospect decides to make a purchase.

Yet tEC can still ask the most confidential questions without endangering the prospect's privacy and store the corresponding answers locally. A tEC sales pitch can use these answers to deliver the most appropriate message to each prospect, achieving maximum conviction power.

While the original advertisement is meant to appeal to the emotional side of the prospect and the tEC sales pitch to his or her rational side, it might be necessary to reinforce the company personalized proposal by a second ad, specifically targeted to each user. In that case, the tEC sales pitch determines precisely which ad to pick.

(*) the site is ready to be put online at short notice.

II-4 Selective Recruitment with Ad-Reply

Selective recruitment using tEC may be considered a special case of personalized sales pitches which target prospective employees.
See above for more information.

However one may also use a tEC recruitment as a confidential e-interview whose goal is to select appropriate candidates for further consideration.
In this case a tEC recruitment behaves in much the same way as the tEC service used to select focus group members (see above for more information).

II-5 Unhibited Team Communication with tEC Mail

Team work is more productive when team members can communicate freely among themselves. This is easily done face to face when all members are in the same building, especially on the same floor. Unfortunately teams are more often than not spread over different floors, buildings, cities if not continents and email becomes quickly indispensable.

Whenever email is used in team communication, tEC Mail offers a secure, archiveless communication media to facilitate unhibited contacts, in complement to the official email system of the company whose archives remain accessible by any lawyer who happens to sue the company.

III- The end user's perspective

III-1 tEC Mail

tEC Mail is a tEC-based service which provides a spam-free, secure, archiveless electronic mail system.

tEC Mail is ideal whenever you need to protect your privacy and enjoy the comfort of being free from the unwanted attention of third parties. With tEC Mail, you can for example:

  • create your own secure virtual private network (VPN) to communicate freely among friends and family, knowing that neither nosy government agents nor pesky advertisers can tamper with your correspondence and further their own ends at your expense
  • set up an informal channel to link work group members free from all the rules and restrictions which burdens formal corporate email systems, knowing that no lawyer can ever claim discovery rights to your every word and thought, unless the sender authorizes his or her correspondent to make copies
  • exchange emails with unknown parties with whom you share a mutual interest, while maintaining total confidentiality, especially with respect to the match-making service providers and all their so-called marketing partners
tEC Mail is structured according to the tEC domains of interest which correspond to each user's needs.
tEC, the Electronic Confidant, comes prepackaged with tEC Mail for a generic domain, to be used with friends, family and other known correspondents. Other domains are the responsibilities of domain makers, who determine, each in their own domain of expertise, how unknown correspondents can be filtered and matched to help you discover desirable opportunities.
  • spam-free: by design, no one can send you a tECmail without first downloading and passing your filter. This filter expresses the conditions you want all acceptable senders to satisfy and is declared after an easy to use template prepared by the relevant domain maker.
  • secure: all tECmails are automatically encrypted using classic peer to peer encryption. tECmails can contain attachments of selected file types (.txt, .html, .gif, .jpg, .pdf). At the sender's discretion, an attachment can be sent:
    • without encryption
    • with the same peer to peer encryption as the main body
    • encrypted and (to the exception of Adobe Acrobat Reader files) and copy-protected
  • archiveless: this feature is a shorthand notation for the following facts:
    • all copies made of a tECmail by the intermediaries who enable its transmission are undecipherable without the present consent of both its sender and its receiver, assuming none have modified their exchange key since the original exchange.
    • at the request of the sender, .txt, .html, .gif, and .jpg attachments can be copy protected
    • as long as the content of a tECmail is not copied outside of tEC, it cannot be accessed on a user machine without the present consent of the relevant user, either sender or receiver
    • long term keeping of past tECmails is discouraged by the lack of archival features of tEC Mail
tEC Mail allows you to set up a private network, whether for personal or professional needs, by inviting people you already know and who welcome your invitation to use tEC. Once one of your correspondent is a tEC user, the two of you simply accept each other in your filters for any relevant domain of interest.
Enrollment is thus a matter of mutual interest between two persons. While you may happen to be a domain maker yourself, enrollment is independent of domain making.

Domain makers are responsible for the terms and conditions under which users can access the corresponding tEC Mail service.
With the generic tEC Mail service provided by ePrio
  • a user is not charged for sending mail, assuming they have satisfied their correspondent's filter.
  • a user who desires to receive mail needs to set up a generic mailbox and give circulation rights to his or her generic filter.
  • generic mailbox and filter circulation rights must be obtained through the person who has invited the user to use tEC in the first place
Ultimately any request for mailbox and filter circulation rights are handled by ePrio, which is at the head of every invitation chain. Your tEC ID is the only data about you which needs to be passed on by the person who invited you. Often this person will have arranged everything before inviting you and you may want to extend the same favor to those you will invite yourself.

Currently ePrio does not engage in any commercial transaction with its end users.
The following only represents future suggested prices:
  • $1 per mailbox per month
  • ¢ 1 per filter download
  • $1 per tECmail reply (a way to acknowledge reception of the tECmail replied to))
  • $1 per tECmail reply confirmation (to acknowledge acceptance of the previous exchange of a tECmail and its reply)

III-2 tEC Fair Play Matching

tEC Fair Play Matching is a tEC-based service which provides precise, confidential, mutual matches with the possibility to negotiate over several rounds. tEC Matching is organized according to specific domains of interest defined and operated by independent domain makers.

tEC Fair Play Matching is ideal when your search for a counterpart ought to involve information you would rather keep secret either out of a concern for privacy or as to keep maximum negotiating power.
All other matching services require that you either postpone dealing with this information, leading to mismatches, or disclose it to at least a third party, with a resulting loss of control.
tEC Fair Play Matching is also superior when it comes to timing: depending on the domain maker, the service may follow a pre-published schedule or function as an alert facility, always insuring the fastest verification of mutual interest.
All other matching services require that you check potential matches yourself to find out if they are mutual, leading to loss of time and potential disappointment.

The best way to understand tEC Fair Play Matching is to look at a real life example, the case of employee recruitment via job fairs.
Click on the link and, for more details, either on Applicants or HR staff.

  • precise: see the tools available to the domain makers and the example provided in the demonstration
  • confidential: see "Hands Off Confidentiality"
  • mutual matching: see Competitive Analysis from the applicant or recruiter perspective.
  • negotiation: this feature is really the result of many factors
    • the availability of successive matching rounds, per a pre-defined schedule or at your discretion depending on the domain maker
    • the certainty you keep all confidential data close to your chest until the rigth match is found and accepted
    • the knowledge that all important facts have been taking into account, making last minute surprises much more unlikely
For the list of current services, please download tEC and check for New services.
You may also want to consult this list of suggested tEC services.

III-3 Interacting with tECaware organizations

Today established organizations ask all those who seek to interact with them, be they prospects, customers, employees or job applicants, to entrust their confidential information to them.

While most such organizations take genuine pain to keep their promises of confidentiality, their efforts are undercut by both the inevitable weaknesses of human agents and the reckless conduct of less ethical competitors.

To those organizations most intent on respecting the privacy of their correspondents and smart enough to realize that this will increase their profitability, ePrio offers the tEC Seal program.
See below how to interact with tEC aware organizations.

IV Licensing the technology:

IV Personalized Advertising with real Privacy Protection

ePrio's patented technology can be applied to deploy personalized advertising in a way which totally preserves each user's privacy.

Personal profiles can now be built with increasing levels of precision and personalized advertising is called to a promising future. Yet will users tolerate what they resent as a breach of the trust they put in the companies with which they shared their personal data?

With ePrio's solution, any company which has gained an insight on their customer or user profiles can benefit from this information via personalized advertising. ePrio enables them to discharge their responsibility for user privacy protection via an auditable mechanism which ensures no personal information will ever be accessed by anyone in the delivery of personalized advertising. Because of ePrio's "Hands Off Confidentiality", no user consent is needed to "share data" because none needs to be shared. User involvement however remains possible and welcome at any time.

ePrio enables such personal advertising applications through licensing agreements. Please inquire at partners@eprivacy.com.

October 2007
Copyright © 2007 ePrio Inc. All rights reserved.