Friday, June 22, 2012

Yeah... Just Awful...

The Week panics over Acxiom, a company in Arkansas that collects and sells data about people:
"If you are an American adult," says Singer, "the odds are that it knows things like your age, race, sex, weight, height, marital status, education level, politics, buying habits, household health worries, vacation dreams - and on and on." It does more than collect that information, though. It uses it to pigeonhole people into one of 70 very specific socioeconomic clusters in an attempt to predict how they'll act, what they'll buy, and how companies can persuade them to buy their products. It gathers its data trove from public records, surveys you've filled out, your online behavior, and other disparate sources of information, then sells it to banks, retailers, and other buyers.
So... for only the tiniest, marginal, indirect cost on my part, this company makes sure that thousands of retailers only bother me with ads for things I might actually have need of, or at least be interested in, instead of bombarding me with random garbage I don't care about?

Absolute monsters, the lot of them...


  1. So, if I were to do even more browsing outside "anonymized" sessions, as I am doing here, not search via an anonymized proxy, stop blocking all webads, answer survey questions honestly and give non-fictional information in profiles, I'd get targeted ads?

    Where's the fun in that? *heh*

  2. Well, this explains the goat repellant spam and the japanese toilet humor spam but the bath salts spam baffles me.

  3. ...which is why I always vary my answers.

    Discovered this many years ago when buying a new car and they had my birthdate wrong on the paperwork. Just automatically entered it, wrong. There was only place they could have gotten that date: yahoo.

    Since then it's been serpentine, serpentine! ;)