It doesn’t take very long to find some sort of list on the internet. In fact, lists are a pretty common thing that people blog about, create sites about and if you are really talented like The Movie Checklists Blog you blog about the list site you are creating. But I am not talking about those lists. I am talking about the lists you really care about; the lists that are responsible for all of that junk mail you get.
There are all sorts of lists and you may be frightened to know about them, but don’t be. All of them have your name because you said they could – though it may have been unknowingly because you didn’t actually read the agreement you said you read.
Now there are some general lists such as “Grandparents” or “Self Identified Democrats and Republicans” but they get much more specific than that. For instance, if you are reading this blog you may be on the “Tech Stock” list that
… contains individuals who have purchased subscriptions to high-priced investment advisory newsletters that specialize in finding technology stock investment opportunities
You may still say that that isn’t all that specific and I can see your point of view, but what about a list of “Socially Active Small Business Owners“. Would “Joe The Plumber” make that list?
The answer doesn’t really matter and you may still say that that information isn’t all that specific. Once again, I may agree to an extent, but I think the next list will make you reconsider. There is a “Pet loving Execs” list described as:
…business executives who enjoy spending time with their dogs, cats or both while working at home. The average age of prospects is 52, and they earn an average of $79,000 per year.
There are plenty more lists that you can look at over at DMNews if you are interested.
Now this post is not meant to be a fire-alarm or get people all up in arms about privacy. This isn’t meant to rat out companies who may be purchasing these lists. In all honesty, they are buying the list because they think that they have a product that you want. Does it mean extra junk mail? Yes, but if it doesn’t make the company money to mail you they will stop (perhaps excluding credit card offers). This is part of life. Always assume that when you give out your information, it has the potential to be given or sold to someone else.
We live in a world where information is everywhere. Consumers have more choices because of the internet and specialty companies are trying to find you as much as you are trying to find them. Competition for business is fierce and companies cannot afford to do the broad mailings nearly as much as they used to. Why mail people who will probably not have any interest in your company’s product when your company has a limited budget and is also trying to decrease its paper use?
Each company is just trying to stay relevant to its customers and acquire new ones. They will do what it takes to get to that point. They will track you with e-mail and internal campaigns as well as buy lists from various vendors. If you don’t like it then it may be time for you to start reading all that fine print before you sign.
This has been a Thought From The Cake Scraps.