Verizon really wants your location data. And it's willing to give stuff away to get its 100-million-plus subscribers to hand that data over.
The wireless carrier plans to launch a new rewards program, called Smart Rewards, on Thursday. Subscribers who opt-in will get access to savings and discounts of up to 40 percent on brand-name merchandise from more than 200 brands. Rewards will also include local shopping and dining deals that you can redeem from your phone, as well as travel deals that include discounts at 26,000 hotels. And, of course, there will be discounts available for Verizon products and services as well as Verizon-branded gift cards in the program.
But, as with everything in life, there is a catch — one that will likely turn off those who value their privacy more than saving a couple of bucks on shopping sprees. According to Verizon, Smart Rewards members will need to enroll in Verizon Selects, the company's program that lets ad partners sell targeted ads to customers. To enroll in Verizon Selects, you must consent to share location, web browsing, and mobile application usage data, which Verizon's partners will use to send you more targeted ads.
If that doesn't sound appealing to you, you'll be able to opt-out of Verizon Selects, but only after you first opt-in, which doesn't sound like the most consumer-friendly approach. If you do opt-out of Selects, you can continue using Smart Rewards, but you'll lose out on 500 points per line per month. That may be a small price to pay to keep your anonymized personal data off of Verizon's servers.
Smart Rewards members earn points for doing things like logging into MyVerizon, paying their monthly bill, using the Verizon Trade In Program, and opting into paperless billing. Verizon is enticing users with at least 10,000 free points just for signing up, and the amount of initial points you get will vary based on some undefined criteria.
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