Privacy Lost…Part III: All in the Name of Transparency?

Hola Todos!

In a previous DigNuggetville posts, I highlighted just how much the marketers know about us.  One of the biggest of these firms is Acxiom, and I nearly fell out of my chair when I read the following headline: “Find out what Big Data knows about you, (it may be very wrong).”

It turns out that Acxoim unveiled a website called where if one were to put one’s name in the field, one could get a “snapshot” on what Acxiom knows (and sells to retailers and marketers) about you.  Not surprising, the data is not 100% accurate.  In fact, Acxiom states up to 30% of your data might be wrong at any given time.

What was surprising is most of the middle part of the article focused on privacy and the fact that this website “is a win for privacy advocates who have long called for increased transparency. But with that transparency comes a chance for us to see just how much information is gathered and sold — and how much of it is off-base.”

What made my jaw drop was this line two-thirds of the way through the article:

“It even asks consumers to ‘correct’ their profile in order to ensure they’re receiving the most appropriate offers.”


Let me get this straight, Acxiom is trying to increase their transparency correct?  Yet, they having the individuals in THEIR database (at least 30% inaccurate remember) CORRECT their records so they can sell a more accurate representation of us to future marketers.

Yes, you read that right – Acxiom is using a wisdom-of-crowds technique (e.g., crowdsourcing) to fix one of their biggest problems – all in the name of “transparency” – and yes, they probably can sell these more accurate records at a better price because they have been “verified” by the user.  Incredible they can get away with that.

I’m not going to check myself as last thing I want to do is help out a firm like Acxiom.

Something to think about today…


Best regards

Dr. Dan-o


Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University