A couple of months ago I stumbled across this site. They purport to sign you up for a Credit Card, and once “activated” (used), they mail out your free GPS.
Having little to lose, I signed up. The Card arrived about a week later. The week after that, my Water Heater went out. I used the card to purchase a new one. I had the money, but it took a week to get it out of my savings.
Two weeks later I paid off the balance in full.
Five weeks after that, my free GPS arrived – a Garmin Nuvi 200 (mailed from Amazon, no less). It had the latest (2009) maps and works very nicely. I registered it without any trouble and even downloaded some extra goodies, such as a Spitfire instead of a Car (cos I is British, you know…)
The moral of this story is that information has value. The company that provided this offer was not doing this out of the goodness of their heart; they were doing so for a profit. The information that they gained from me had value. That value was roughly $80 (the bulk-purchase price of a Garmin Nuvi 200). Theoretically they must have recouped at least that much by selling my name, address, and e-mail address to those who wanted it.
In the two months since signing up I have seen no change in my volume of junk mail (I get very little), but I now get 30-50 spam e-mails a day. It is pretty obvious to whom they sold my details: The Credit Card Company and… every spammer in town.
That’s ok, though. I got fair value for my information. Too many businesses act like they have a divine right to sell your info on to all comers, and they enable this through small print in privacy policies. My information has value – if you want to sell it, I want a piece of the pie. Now I know how big that piece really is. And I can always cancel the Credit Card.
The Spam is not a problem; I use Gmail, which has the best spam filter I have ever seen. In a typical month, perhaps one or two messages slip through the filter, and I have yet to see a false positive (a non-spam message incorrectly marked as spam). And since I have two e-mail addresses (one for personal, one for things like this) it really is no trouble at all.
- Retail Price: $160.
- Cost to me: $0.
- Getting Free Stuff: Priceless.
Now Reading: Your Government has failed you: Breaking the cycle of National Security Disasters, by Richard A. Clarke