Want to know how you’re being sold to marketers?
Acxiom, one of the largest brokerages of personal marketing data, just released Aboutthedata.com, which allows you to view all the information it has stored about you in its marketing databases.
Acxiom has information on 700 million consumers worldwide, with some 1,500 data points per person.
The site allows you to see which details dictate the targeted ads that you see every day — whether they’re creepily accurate or way off-base. Your data profile will include biographical facts (like education level or number of children), homeownership status (including mortgage amount and property size), vehicle details, economic information, shopping categories, and even interests, with an option to learn how each element was sourced.
Aboutthedata.com also gives you the option to modify or delete information that’s false. So if, for example, you’re a single vegan occasionally blasted with deals for family hunting trips, you can fix the database once and for all.
Acxiom, with $US1.1 billion in revenue in its 2013 fiscal year, told The New York Times that it created the site to make industry practices more transparent. Still feeling uncomfortable about having so much data mined? You can opt-out of the collection process, but not without this first seeing this warning from the company:
Opting out of Acxiom’s online and/or offline marketing data will not prevent you from receiving marketing materials. Instead of receiving ads that are relevant to your interests, you will see more generic ads with no information to tailor content. For example, instead of getting a great offer on a hotel package in your favourite vacation spot, you might see an ad for the latest, greatest weight loss solution.
To check out your — potentially shocking — data profile, log-in with your name, address, email, and the last four digits of your social security number.
Unfortunately, Acxiom could not “verify my identity” using its authentication, so I can only speculate what embarrassing things it thinks my interests are.