Saturday, September 25, 2010

Digest this bait [and switch]

Everybody, it seems, is out to get a hold of your contact information so they can sell you drugs.

I was reading Reader's Digest this evening and came across an add touting a Reader's Digest Health Survey. Completing the survey, the ad said, would not only help the venerable Digest to identify issues that matter most to its readers, but would also enter you into a sweepstakes for a $30,000 prize.

The ad notes that the information you provide will be helpful to the Digest's readers and advertisers. But what it really means is, the information will be sold to advertisers.

I found this out by going to the website listed in the ad figuring I'd be asked to fill out a health survey that might be providing results for a Digest-sponsored article. They do publish the results of a lot of surveys [most of which are useless] but what the hey...

It turns out the website 'survey' asks one question. They want you to check off areas of health concerns that you would like more information about, then they want you to agree to share your contact information with healthcare marketing companies.

So much for a survey.

I'm disappointed in the Digest, not because I think it has anything valuable to offer, it's no more interesting a read for me than the inspid People magazine, but luring readers to healthcare marketing mailing lists is about as low as standing on the street corner offering a hit of crack to passing school kids.

Shame you, Reader's Digest. I didn't take the bait.

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