This 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.
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?