Light Reading
New rewards program offers points for online interactions, but requires customers to sign up for Precision Market Insights, Verizon's program to sell customer data to advertisers.

Verizon Rewards Customers for Their Data

Sarah Thomas
7/21/2014
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Verizon is launching a new nationwide program that rewards its customers for interacting with it, but -- like most things in life -- it's not giving its customers something for nothing.

Verizon Wireless is positioning the program as an innovative way to reward customers, but it helps Verizon too. At launch, most of the rewards seem to be for doing things online, like using the Verizon online account management tool, paying monthly bills, using the Verizon Trade In program, or choosing paperless billing. That's all good for Verizon in that it helps cut down on costly service calls and makes sure its customers are paying on time without a paper bill.

Where it gets more interesting is that in order to participate its customers must be enrolled in Verizon Selects, part of the carrier's Precision Market Insights program that sells aggregated customer information to marketers looking to target their ads. Verizon Rewards becomes a clever way for it to get more eyeballs for its opt-in program. (See Big-Data Attracts Big Dollars, New Faces.)

Some may see that –- more relevant ads! -- as a perk in itself, but it's already made others uncomfortable since it can include data down to browsing history, location, and app usage.

Verizon is offering additional points for each line opted in for as long as customers stay opted in. It's possible it hasn't had that great a level of sign-ups for its privacy-bending program, so this is likely one way it's trying to persuade more people to get on board. Even if we hate ads, it's a proven fact that people love free stuff.

Verizon says that any postpaid customer can sign up for the rewards program starting on Thursday and get 10,000 points out the gate. The points they earn are then redeemable for discounts on merchandise, coupons from local retailers, Verizon gift cards, and other deals, which it says will evolve over time.

The ad angle aside, Verizon is taking a cue from C Spire , which has had a similar program, PERCs, in place for years now. It doesn't require backend changes to the carrier's policy or charging functions, and a spokeswoman says it's run by a vendor that administers the points and manages the merchandise catalog. (See C Spire Lets SPIT Percolate and C Spire's COO Sees the Percs in SPIT.)

The program won't appeal to everyone who wants a more hands-off relationship with their carrier, but rewards will be enough to entice some people and greatly reward Verizon in the process.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/31/2014 | 6:12:22 AM
Why You Should Opt For Verizon As A Program
Everyone wants rewards at one time for being a certain brands user at one point or another. So are the Verizon users who are now enjoying the reward that they are getting. Verizon is launching a new nationwide program that rewards its customers for interacting with it, but -- like most things in life -- it's not giving its customers something for nothing. If someone would just give things away wouldn't they have anything in the end? Customers' must just be enrolled in various Verizon's selects. The rewards given to users prove Verizon as the ideal program fro a number of services that don't go unnoticed.
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
7/22/2014 | 10:16:54 AM
Re: reward yourself
I heard they pinky-swear not to pass yer data onto the NSA if you sign up! ;-)
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/22/2014 | 9:34:40 AM
Re: reward yourself
@nasimon I saw this quite a number of years ago (I'd say at least 15, maybe more) on TV. If it was just for a local news channel, then they would have been in NY, but I can't be sure that they weren't sharing something filmed in another state. As I recall, the people involved were adults (actually data collection from minors is a dangerous thing from a legal view.) I believe it was in a supermarket, and many were probably women shopping for groceries for their family. 
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/21/2014 | 11:38:12 PM
Re: reward yourself
> They > were willing to fill out a whole form > of personal info just for a bag of > popcorn! @Ariella: Really? When was it? And which state was it? What was the demographic profile? I bet it would be a younger audience trading in their privacy for pop corn.
KBode
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KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/21/2014 | 6:22:49 PM
Re: reward yourself
Sitting in bright sunlight with a laptop so maybe I can't see a link, but do they list exactly what you get for participating in the program? Any money off of your bill?
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/21/2014 | 3:16:48 PM
Re: reward yourself
I'm sure that some people will be reaching for their tinfoil hats and not really trust Verizon not to collect data after this. Others won't care. I still remember from the day before the internet when some did a test on how cheaply people sell their data. They were willing to fill out a whole form of personal info just for a bag of popcorn!
SReedy
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SReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
7/21/2014 | 1:07:55 PM
reward yourself
I suppose it makes sense for a carrier to offer a rewards program much like a retailer or credit card might, although the discounts are largely for third parties, not in service or on smartphones. Verizon has the lowest churn in the industry, so customer retention isn't a huge concern. I think this program is all about the data. Smart move.
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