I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. So do hundreds of my neighbors and I know exactly who they are.
The WSJ gets delivered to my front door every morning by a carrier with the Dayton Daily News. About a year ago, I noticed that the mailing label in the upper right hand corner of my copy of the WSJ was not me. It was a neighbor who lived in another part of the subdivision or worked at another business.
So, I started saving these labels. Sometimes I would get my own label, but most days, I would get someone else’s. Eventually, I reasoned, I would probably get everyone who subscribed to the WSJ on my carrier’s route. I think I am right.
Now, I have a mailing list of neighbors with whom I have something in common. When I want to refer to an article in the WSJ that I think might affect them, I can send out a cheap postcard, with a URL to my blog to the list and I know they will most likely have read the same article as me. And, they will most likely go to my blog, read, comment and maybe pass it along.
They may wonder how I got their name, how I knew they also read the WSJ. Or, maybe not.
Or maybe, they have been getting my newspaper and tracking me the same way.