Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How Much Do Data Brokers Know About You? Now You Can Find Out


Acxiom, a major data broker that helps fuel targeted ads for the likes of Facebook, has taken a big step towards revealing just what advertisers know about you. The company just launched, a new site that allows you to find out just what information Acxiom has about your life and interests.

Data is the currency of the internet, and advertising tech firms like Acxiom make their bones off of helping companies target ads more effectively. And as users increasingly become wary of ads that feel a little too targeted, Acxiom's initiative—which produces a straightforward profile of your basic info and interests—is aimed at clearing the air with a little transparency.

"We are not going to get anywhere by hiding," Acxiom CEO Scott Howe told the New York Times. "You have to make things visible." The new site allows users to opt out of Acxiom's service, which could certainly hurt the company's bottom line, but its counter-pitch is that by opting out, users will lose out on ads that actually work. Again, Acxiom hopes that openness will breed more comfort with the ads that fund just about everything we do online.
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