Is Privacy the Cost of Convenience?

Privacy, convenience, direct mail, direct marketingAfter the recent outcry from users when Instagram changed their Terms of Service, I started thinking a little more about privacy and how much we’re willing to give up to use some of these social media platforms. I don’t operate under any delusions that there isn’t some sort of cost inherent with using these free social and online services. They are, after all, going into these start-up ventures to make money from their service, one way or the other. I try to refrain from knee-jerk reactions anymore, especially with as quickly as misinformation can spread.

Recently, a piece of direct mail showed up in my mailbox. It was for OutboxAustin.com (It’s actually just Outbox, but targeted to acquiring Austin residents). The tagline on the piece proudly stated: “This could be the last piece of junkmail you ever receive!” Needless to say, I was intrigued. Could this be like that program that allows you to unsubscribe from all the junk mail you receive in your email inbox, but in real life? I decided to look into it a little. What I found was pretty surprising:

So what do you think about this method of convenience? Is this something you’d be willing to do, or have you already given Outbox a try? If you’re a direct marketer, how does do you feel about this type of program? I’d love to hear your thoughts below, or in the comments section of the YouTube video.

Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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2 thoughts on “Is Privacy the Cost of Convenience?

  1. I am a bit of a neophyte when it comes to this kind of stuff. I don’t get how a service can scan my emails and tell me what I can’t get from scanning them myself. When I see who it is from and the title I can quickly assess (and it depends on my mood and current focus) whether I want to read it or not. I am less concerned about the security of the service than I am about the usefulness of it. If I want my junk mail to be auto-filtered I’ll just unsubscribe from those lists.

    Am I missing the value-proposition here or do I not suffer from the problem that they are solving?

    • I think there are two parts to answer here:

      1.) I think services like this cater to those who claim to be too busy (read: lazy or scattered) to take a moment to simply unsubscribe, filter or manage their incoming communications. I have a feeling this would not be an accurate description of you at all ;)
      2.) This service in particular is focused on physical USPS mail. Rather than taking a moment to call and put oneself on a Do Not Contact list, it’s apparently easier to say “Here, take my money and make this better!” To each their own methods, I suppose.

      I actually don’t mind getting some junkmail personally, as I like to see what kind of efforts are still being used to keep the direct marketing world relevant in an increasingly digital environment. This, in particular, was an interesting cross-media effort to take your physical mail and make it digital. Plus, it inspired a blog post and video!
      Thanks for the insight!

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