Things that make you go “hmmm…”

This is only tangentially about spam. I read an article on Techdirt about an incipient crackdown on the so-called “loyalty programs” that many companies have used to with alarming success:

It’s no secret that there are a bunch of companies out there that trick users into signing up for a regular monthly subscription service that’s usually nothing more than an excuse to charge your credit card every month. […] The government is finally cracking down on some of these, but its latest investigation — into just three such services (and there are a bunch more) named Webloyalty, Vertrue and Affinion — found that those three alone brought in over $1.4 billion.

What really bothers me is that most of the companies that used these services are major companies that are considered to be legitimate. A full list of such companies are listed on a companion article on CNET. Go look. There are some very familiar names on that list, and at least two companies that have well-proven track records of intractable, horrible mailing practices.

I grabbed out some of the ones that I personally have done business with over the years. I guess I’d better take a closer look at my credit card statements, eh?
US Airways
The names of the retailers that partnered with Affinion, Webloyalty, or Vertrue.
(Credit: U.S. Senate Commerce Committee)

I will leave you, Dear Reader, to consider the implications.

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