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March 28, 2011

How Much is Your Email Address Worth?

I don't have a fixed dollar amount in mind, but I can tell you that a drug store chain here in the U.S. has determined it is worth them to pay me $4.00 to obtain my email address. That's what the coupon spit out by the CVS pharmacy cash register at today's purchase offered me.

This coupon, of course, was tied to the code number on my Extra Care card. Like many drug and grocery chains here in the U.S., CVS offers savings on various items when you belong to their Extra Care program and scan your card at the checkout. This means that they can track every purchase and gather a profile about my purchasing habits.

(I've always felt that type of data gathering to be creepy. I use the card numbers of a female friend of mine so that the accuracy of the collected data is suspect, as two separate households contribute to the data. And neither of the cards is in my name, yet we both get the savings.)

Now, I could have supplied one of my throw-away email addresses and collected my four bucks. I can pretty much guarantee that CVS will start emailing the hell out of that account. Instead, I elected to send a more important message: you can't buy my email address so you can send me coupons for mascara and laxatives.

I let my verbal response stand: "Not for four dollars."

Posted on March 28, 2011 at 05:47 PM