Dear _____,

Do you subscribe to the New York Times? Check out their new initiative called Timespoints (The program is basically a way to earn points from the New York Times by linking all your credit card purchases to a New York Times-affiliated account)

Another description here:

It's an interesting scheme, from a business perspective. The consumer benefits are obvious. From the NYTimes point of view, the benefit of gaining access to information about a customer's credit card purchases is ambiguous. Do you think it's demographic profiling for the newspaper itself? Do you think the NYTimes is attempting to make more informed pitches to its advertisers? Do you think it is actually selling consumer information to other companies? Is it a business loyalty program of some sort? Your new business education surely enables you to answer these questions and more...

Oh yeah, and I am becoming less busy by the end of this week and would enjoy having that in depth discussion we have not been able to have in a while,

Keeping you on your toes,

Follow up: paranoid analysis:

However, at the same time I see the potential for mischief here. Like what is to stop the Rewards Program from compiling a private database of ALL of my credit card purchases, and then

1) Selling it to interested buyers who will target me with unsolicited mail, phone calls, and spam of all sorts
2) Selling the information to those who may, at some point, have the incentive to blackmail me with disclosures of my purchases (that Hardcore Geriatrics 37 video being but one of my many incriminating purchases)

You are now an expert in business law, right (I think you took one class in that or something)? Does the law protect me?

The webpage itself is misleading:

"Q: Why is The Times doing this?
A: This program allows our readers to get more from The Times by doing the everyday things they already do - dining out, shopping online and staying at hotels. Our objective is to reward our loyal readers and further enhance the value of their relationship with The Times. We are providing members with a hassle-free way to save on their subscription and also an opportunity to save on some of our other offerings - exhibition-quality photographs, thought-provoking books from our journalists, historic pages and more."

So the Times has its customers best interests in mind and there is no gain to be accrued to its organization... Riiight.
I will post the reply on this site.

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