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Verizon Wireless Capitalizes on Consumers’ Rights to FREE Stuff

mobile phone privacy verizonWhile Americans are known to value their privacy (it’s an essential freedom guaranteed in the Bill of Rights!), there’s something we value more: free sh*t.

It’s in this spirit that Verizon Wireless launched a nationwide loyalty program that will offer its 100 million wireless subscribers rewards in exchange for information about their location and Web browsing (among other things).

It’s a “new way to make marketing work for YOU,” explains a friendly male voice on a video Verizon put out on its website about the Verizon Selects program.

And, hey—they make a good pitch…which is not embeddable, so you have to click the link above to watch it.

Advertising is everywhere. From online, to TV, to your Smartphone, and even your social networks, so many ads don’t have anything to do with what you are really interested in. Wouldn’t it be great if they were more relevant to things that actually mattered to you?

So instead of getting ads for high heeled shoes, you receive a promotion about that sweet hybrid bike you’ve been eyeing! Well, that time is now. [Watch the video and read the full transcript here]

So what exactly is Verizon Selects? Per the Wall Street Journal, customers who sign up for the new “Smart Rewards” program will be required to also opt in to another program called Verizon Selects, which tracks their locations, web browsing and mobile application usage data, and other demographic/interest information to help YOU better target them with ads.

Customers can also earn points when they recycle a device at a Verizon Wireless retail store, add a new line of service to their existing plan, or pay their bills electronically. Adding more lines to a Verizon Selects-participating account means more points, which can be redeemed for various stuff.

The concept isn’t new (Verizon’s Selects program has been going since 2012), but its inclusion in the rewards program is. Verizon is hoping that the feature will result in more of that invaluable “opt in” data.

New research from PunchTab suggests that it will. According to the marketing tech company, consumers are more likely to share their information with marketers if they feel they’re getting something of value in return.

What’s more, new research from eMarketer suggests that it will pay off:

After less than a decade of existence, smartphones and tablets this year will draw more money from advertisers than the centuries-old newspaper industry or the nearly century-old radio sector, a sign of just how rapidly technology is transforming media habits…

… spending on mobile advertising, which includes both smartphones and tablets, will soar 83% to nearly $18 billion in 2014. Newspapers will draw nearly $17 billion, while radio will bring in $15.5 billion. [WSJ]

At this point, Verizon is just getting permissions from its customers to access information, but ultimately the company will license the collected data to advertising tech companies such as Oracle, Bluekai, Run, Turn and Brightroll.

You can read more about the Verizon Selects over on the company website. Just note: when you go there’s you’ll get a message saying “www.verizonwireless.com wants to use your computer’s location: allow or deny.”

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