Is Your Privacy Worth 5 bucks?

GameFly RewardsI loves me some GameFly. One of the things that made me really sit up and take notice of them, though, was receiving an email notification that some GameFly Dollars I had accumulated ($5 off a game) were about to expire.

Outside of any cynical suspicions of GameFly Dollars as a clever way to make me feel as if I was saving money when really it might be the opposite, the most immediate thing I thought to myself was, “How sweet of them to remind me.”

I quickly logged in and found a game I wanted, compared the reduced price with what the game was going for on eBay, Amazon and the usual brick and mortar shops, and used up those GameFly Dollars before their impending expiration. Woo-hoo!

But get a load of the most recent “offer”: save $5/month on your GameFly membership if you sign up to watch commercials on some website called BrightSpot.

First impulse: save more money? Hell yeah.

Second thoughts: BrightSpot would customize the commercials I see based on my unique interests. Hmmmmm.

If there were a way for me to sign up for BrightSpot anonymously, I might consider this. Though I can be extremely susceptible to advertising, I actually like watching some commercials. That “TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes” show that used to air, with Dick Clark and Ed McMahon, sometimes had segments on commercials from around the world. I used to love those. And there was a time when I would tune in to the SuperBowl just to see all the commercials.

But in order to collect on that juicy $5 discount, I’d need to link my GameFly and BrightSpot accounts. Which means my rental and purchase history, name, address and credit card information, systems I own and whatever else GameFly collects would be at the disposal of advertisers and marketers.

[I realize it may already be since BrightSpot and Gamefly look to be linked pretty tightly together, if not already siblings under the same parent company.]

No thanks.

It looks like they’re trying to utilize certain Web 2.0 aspects with this strategy. Get viral by recruiting “sneezers” to view your content and pass it on to their friends. Leverage the power of the network by requesting feedback on each spot. For each commercial viewed, offer credits to various online subscriptions–looks like GameFly’s the first for now.

Get consumers to do the work for you. Offer them an immediate reward that creates the perception of a hot deal. The exchange? Data mine their tastes, preferences and personal information so you can target them even more effectively for marketing.

Sneaky. Sleazy? I’m still trying to decide, but something just doesn’t feel right. Needless to say, I’m not opting into this partnership. I already feel like there’s too much to track when it comes to my privacy, and that I’ve either unwittingly given it up or found it eroded from underneath me given all the high profile privacy violations that have recently surfaced.


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