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Friday, March 02, 2007


If you are familiar with a term called the “float” in the area of finances, then you know it is the process by which a company holds money that belongs to someone else. Like travelers checks you purchase for a trip, with some left unredeemed for months or years. And like the magazine business that bills you months in advance for your subscription, and pockets the money until it’s actually due. They both have your hard-earned cash for long periods of time before it’s cashed in or due; the question is…what do they do with it? There were rumors years ago that a data broker bought a new corporate building off the float, between the time he received money for lists of names purchased for his junk mailers, and when he actually paid the list owners. That’s easy to understand with millions of dollars going through these companies each day. But that desperation to get you to renew your subscription to Harper’s, Hispanic, Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies Home Journal, Motor Trend, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, Rolling Stone, Scientific American, and others like them has yet another purpose. They sell your name and private information for appalling amounts of money; remember…$4 billion made annually by junk mailers from your sensitive data. The magazines above are mentioned because they provide an interesting amount of selectivity along with you name. Things like your change-of-address, phone number, gift subscriptions, college students, sweeps joiners, your lifestyle interests, Internet surfers, and they even sell your name as an “expire” after you cancel the subscription. I checked Soap Opera Digest for heavy Kleenex buyers but it’s not available. Not yet.

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