Stephanie Clifford reports:
For decades, shoppers have taken advantage of coupons. Now, the coupons are taking advantage of the shoppers.
A new breed of coupon, printed from the Internet or sent to mobile phones, is packed with information about the customer who uses it. While the coupons look standard, their bar codes can be loaded with a startling amount of data, including identification about the customer, Internet address, Facebook page information and even the search terms the customer used to find the coupon in the first place.
None of the tracking is visible to consumers. The coupons, for companies as diverse as Ruby Tuesday and Lord & Taylor, are handled by a company called RevTrax, which displays them on the retailers’ sites or on coupon Web sites, not its own site.
Read more in the New York Times.