The site, launched last week in the States, is designed to put the power back in the hands of consumers, enabling them to get more relevant advertising. While the service is being beta tested in the US, Acxiom says it does have a “global vision” for AboutTheData.com.
But the detailed sign-on process – which includes the last four digits of users’ social security numbers – has drawn criticism, despite Acxiom’s insistence that any new information gleaned from the log-in will not be added to its database and then used for marketing purposes.
A report in the Wall Street Journal likened it to “the Transportation Security Administration offering to show you the naked photos it takes at the airport – as long as you first agree to pose for some more photos”.
Meanwhile an article in Forbes magazine claimed to have unearthed a string of errors in the information, ranging from nationality, household income, purchase habits, marital status, and number of children. It even quoted Penn State professor Adam D Smith, saying: “The data they had on me stank.”
Unveiling the new scheme, Acxiom chief executive and president Scott Howe said: “We are pleased with the positive feedback it has received from industry advocates and policy makers. After 40-plus years of advocating for the responsible use of consumer data, we’re now taking our first step in establishing a direct relationship with consumers.
“Companies like ours haven’t historically done a good job of educating people on what we do with data about them. Largely because of that, misperceptions abound.”
A company spokesman told DecisionMarketing: “The vision is global but the initial focus is on the live beta launch in the US. Lessons learned from the live beta launch in the US will be used to shape our international plans for AboutTheData.com.
“In the meantime, Acxiom is committed to the highest standards of consumer privacy in all of its locations and to our vision of increasing access, transparency and choice for consumers and their data.”
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