“I keep seeing ads for these browser add-ons like Honey (from PayPal) and Capital One Shopping,” she wrote. “They claim they will automatically find and apply promo codes to save you money whenever you shop online. This sounds terrific, but I keep wondering, What’s in it for them? They’re not just doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. Before I sign up for these services, I want to know what the trade-off is. Can you help me find out?”
Brian X. Chen, the New York Times personal technology columnist, has this response:
Yes, there is always a trade-off. With free software, your personal data is often part of the transaction.
Read between the lines: That means Honey can track your browsing on retail websites. (Honey has said that it uses data only in ways that people expect.)
That’s a lot of information to hand over for software that automatically applies coupons. Whether or not that’s a fair trade is up to you.