e-Rewards, the survey site that lets you redeem points for miles in a variety of programs (unless you sign up via a specific program, in which case your redemptions are restricted to that program), plans to implement (on or about October 1) some pretty extreme tracking cookies to watch your overall web browsing sessions.
On the whole, I find that their surveys are less rewarding (fewer points for longer surveys) than they were perhaps five years ago. And the opportunity cost of my time has gone up. I rarely find it worthwhile to complete their surveys on the basis of the rewards they’re offering.
But I still complete some surveys because I like to have a small stash of points that I can redeem at-will. The surveys are too cumbersome for, say, the 1000 frequent flyer miles I’ll eventually get. But when I can transfer the points into a program and receive credit from that program for partner activity when there’s a bonus running for having activity with lots of partners, the surveys will have been that much more rewarding.
For instance, I recently redeemed for the minimum transfer to US Airways in order to get a partner credit in their Grand Slam promotion.
So they say they’re going to try to track some of the other websites you visit, and compare your actual browsing to your survey answers.
They do offer the ability to opt-out of these cookies, and I have. You can update your contact information and the last option on the page is to opt in or out of these advanced cookies.
I’m not a privacy zealot. Personalized advertising doesn’t bother me, in fact I would prefer to see offers that actually dovetail my interests than those divorced from them. I don’t fear corporations. But they way I think about this is summed up rather well by an apocryphal Winston Churchill story:
Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?
Socialite: My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…
Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
Socialite: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!
Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.
What e-Rewards is doing is sort of creepy, and most importantly they aren’t offering nearly enough rewards for me to agree to give them the information they’re after. If they want these advanced cookies on my machine, they had darn well haggle up the price..