$120 for My Email Address?

June 30, 2011


How much is my email address worth? Certainly more than I would have guessed. Last week, I traded my email address to the Fairmont Turnberry Resort in Aventura for four days of Internet access in my room and in the lobby. They charge separately for the different areas of the facility at around $15 or so per location per day. If I would have paid for all of it, it would have totaled $120.

fairmont-turnberry-isle-resortHow did I get it for free? Was I a VIP in the penthouse suite? Hardly. I was attending a client conference, walking up to the room with the bellman when he started explaining the resort’s amenities. Once we got to the room (which did have a great golf-course view), I asked about Internet access, and he offered a nice piece of inside information.

Andrew, a transplant from New York City who shared my disdain for the crazy South Florida drivers (that ought to tell you something), told me that to avoid the stiff connection charges, all I had to do was join the Fairmont President’s Club at the concierge desk.

The admission cost to the club was nothing more than my basic contact information and my email address. It took about five minutes to complete the process after which I received my access code and free Internet access for the rest of my life – as long as I happen to be in the vicinity of a Fairmont resort somewhere around the world.

While I am sure that they would have loved to have an extra $120, or even $60, they were more than willing to trade it for the right to send me offers in the future. Well, actually, they were more than willing to trade it for the right to contact someone with a lot of money who travels the world and is likely to stay in their resort on his own dime.

Unfortunately for them, that person is not me. That is probably why I was probably not even supposed to know about the offer. But I did, and I used it to leverage some nice connectivity.

Did I turn out to be a good investment? No. But my guess is that the value of gaining permission to communicate with enough of the right people is worth catching an occasional dud like me.

Thanks, Andrew, for the heads up. Us working people need to stick together.



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