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Don't Lie To Me, Asswads
I love when newspapers try to bullshit online readers that they're making them type in demographic info for the readers' own good -- which reminds me of this US Airways e-mail in the same vein:

Several months ago, we introduced a new policy that rewards our customers for keeping their Dividend Miles account active. Effective January 31, 2007, you must earn or redeem miles within a consecutive 18-month period in order to keep your account active. If you don’t have activity by January 31, 2007, you’ll forfeit your miles.

Waste my time, Mr. Publisher, and treat me like I'm stupid? Well, don't be too quick to assume you're getting correct information. In fact, I'll do my best to see you get the worst readout possible for your advertisers, as I did in this screenshot:


The zip code I typed in isn't mine. I used the zip code for Andover, Massechusetts, the town with the lowest salary per tax return. Oh yeah, and note my age. 104. What are their advertisers going to sell readers like me, directions to a pauper's grave?

Posted by aalkon at December 28, 2006 11:40 AM

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Good on ya!

I do the same thing whenever I set up an AT&T DSL line for someone. Although they don't lie about it - they come right out and say that they use the info to advertise at you.

I wonder how many AT&T Yahoo! customers are going to be celebrating their 107th birthday next Monday?

Posted by: Brian at December 28, 2006 4:14 AM

Airlines and telecom companies are two industries that will never give a customer a break... The good news is that their margins are already so tight they can't afford to.

When my niece was stranded at SFO because of the storm last week, United Airlines had a clever response to the cancellation of 250 flights the first day and 400 the second: They turned off their telephones.

Posted by: Crid at December 28, 2006 4:26 AM

That's great, Brian. The captive audience aspect is especially disgusting. And regarding all those 107-year-old ATT/Yahoo customers, the more the better!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 28, 2006 6:54 AM

God bless ya! I love it. If they do offer you a pauper's grave would you pass it on to me?
I FEEL like I'm 104.

Posted by: Mary at December 28, 2006 6:57 AM

Here's a cool little trick for dealing with lots of these "free" news sites that require logins:

Go to the link, enter the site that you're looking for, and you'll almost always find an existing login that somebody else set up with fake info and uploaded to bugmenot's website.

Posted by: justin case at December 28, 2006 9:53 AM

Amy turned us on to that a few years ago!

Posted by: Crid at December 28, 2006 11:49 AM

Yeah, trashing up their database is the only thing that works, and becomes a rather fun sport after awhile. I now have a stack of supermarket club cards for all of my favorite romantic poets and they all live at the FBI office in the Federal Building. Plus, I always look forward to the perky Pavilions cashier saying, "Thank you Mr. Swinburne!"

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at December 28, 2006 4:14 PM

Speaking of abused privacy, you might be interested in listening to Bruce Schneier's talk at USC's Center on Public Diplomacy September last:

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at December 28, 2006 4:20 PM

Or, rather, abused "publicy".

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at December 28, 2006 4:27 PM

I apply in the name, Mrs. Klaus, North Pole.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 29, 2006 7:29 AM

I use bugmenot whenever I can (thanks for the tip on that, Amy!), but some sites are blocking it now...guess they're annoyed that people are using bugmenot to submit false information. Of course, the result of the block: I just have to enter the false information manually. Yeah, that's effective. When coupled with a email address, they don't get squat.

I also decline to give my phone number to cashiers at department stores. They say it's so the company can see where they should build new stores, but sorry...not gonna bite.

Posted by: Karen at December 29, 2006 9:10 AM

I just have to enter the false information manually.


Or, out of annoyance and a smidgen of vengefulness, unless I really want to read the article a link is sending me to, I just skip the site altogether., at least, has an honest approach: Watch our informercial to see our work.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 29, 2006 9:31 AM

These days I enter the zip code 90909, i.e. the zip code of the rich kids on Veronica Mars. Yeah, market to THOSE people, bitches.

Posted by: Jennifer at January 4, 2007 4:30 PM

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