Acxiom ‘About the Data’ a Model for Industry

Acxiom logoThis weekend the NY Times reported on a new consumer data portal made available by Acxiom. It’s called “About the Data” and it allows consumers to see the data that Acxiom has compiled on them — and edit it.

The system was unable to verify me after multiple attempts so I wasn’t able to determine the completeness or accuracy of my data. But in general I think this is a great idea.

Screenshot 2013-09-04 at 9.51.52 AM

Consumers can also opt-out of the system if they like. Here’s the “warning” about opting-out:

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 favorite vacation spot, you might see an ad for the latest, greatest weight loss solution.

That’s all true, except that there are a dozen other companies doing some version of the same thing (compiling data for ad targeting).

Most consumers would prefer to receive relevant ads and offers and would prefer to see that the information about them is accurate. Again, I don’t know how extensive the fields are because I couldn’t get in. But Acxiom could hypothetically offer some reward or benefit to consumers in exchange for more specific or enhanced data (enhanced profile).

There is a risk that some consumers would falsify their data or try and “punk” Acxiom. But most people are honest.

Overall this approach benefits consumers and marketers by giving them some control over their aggregated information and helping ensure that it’s more accurate. It’s not clear how many people would utilize such a portal but I think it’s a model for the industry.

If more companies were to adopt such an approach we’d need some sort of meta-management system potentially. But that’s for another discussion.

Simultaneously I would like to see legislation that strictly controls how data can be used for hiring, loans, insurance decisions and the like. But I’m all for data vendors opening up and giving users a look at what they have.

What do you think? Do you think this is in fact a model and a good idea or do you think most consumers won’t pay attention or care?

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4 Responses to “Acxiom ‘About the Data’ a Model for Industry”

  1. ben says at

    Hey Greg, thanks for pointing this out. I looked at my profile and it was pretty meh: “Characteristic Data” (7-8 fields on basic demographics): they got the easy ones like DOB right but missed on about half. “Home Data” (mine was blank),  “Vehicle data” (blank on vehicle ownership, but had date for when my car insurance would need to be renewed, which was somewhat accurate).  “Economic data” also pretty off Ie cards I’ve never held or not in past few years. Income well off the mark, etc. Shopping Data seemed like it may have been in the ballpark but some categories badly off… I’ve never once bought from mail order and certainly not automotive supplies, gardening supplies or women’s wear… I swear 🙂 as they seem to think. They did however pretty much nail our Household interests data. 

    I was surprised that it was as off as it was, as I feel like I put a lot of info out there online. It felt as if they were greatly confused by me as an individual vs my household, ie my wife and kids may buy tons of stuff that was a closer fit to their profile of me, but not me.

    But to your question, I definitely applaud them for making this transparent and letting me get in and look and edit it. But that said I really don’t care to spend the time to clean up their database for them, and now that I’ve seen the general overview of what they have, I generally don’t care enough to go back and look again later or to stop anyone from using it… its mostly overly generic crap that’s maybe 50%  accurate anyway… and if I happen to get a better car insurance offer ad somewhat close to when I am renewing my car insurance, that’d be ok.   .  

    It does seem like an area of opportunity for someone however. Since I’d be ok with giving and correcting SOME of this info if someone made it worth my while and simple to do so, but just to help out Acxiom and nameless/faceless marketers? no thanks.

    Rich PII and shopper data gameification start up anyone?      

  2. Greg Sterling says at

    A lot of people are remarking about the inaccuracy of the data there. 

  3. Time’s Subscriber Data; Under The Yahoo Microscope says at

    […] Acxiom ‘About the Data’ a Model for Industry – Screenwerk […]

  4. Dave Hall says at

    I went through it and it apparently has a different person under my name as every single field was wrong. I suspect they have the same problems with wrong info as the credit reports

  5. Greg Sterling says at

    I suspect that’s right. For most people there’s going to be some or considerable inaccurate information.

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