This is one of those few things that make one smile bemused. Really.
The other day I received an email from one of the communities I neglect (joined and somehow hardly ever came back) inviting members to participate in a survey. I was interested in the content of the survey, so I clicked the link, looked over the questions without filling a single field, got to the personal data page and again continued without giving a single bit of data. It was a typical survey looking for panellers for a marketing firm. Not much to learn there, I thought.
Two days later I got an email saying I was the lucky winner of one of five iPods given away by the surveyors. I didn’t quite believe it so I phoned the company quoted, and it was real: in fact they were seeking me because my personal data were “insufficient for the delivery people”. Insufficient indeed, or nonexistent rather.
It seems their email campaign software was tracking the clicks on the emails sent (which by the way suggests the community had lent the data to the marketers without prior user consent, which is illegal in Spain). Each email being distinctive, they knew I had clicked, but not what I did on getting there. A good privacy practice (not knowing what each person answers) that becomes bad lottery management (not knowing whether the people you’re adding to the draw had really given you anything of value).
Not that I’m complaining: my new Shuffle is a commuter’s second best friend…