AboutTheData.com really is about the data — in a way that should stop anyone with any common sense from using it.
The website was created by The Acxiom Corporation, a place that gathers personal information for marketing purposes. And they want all of your data — your home address, last four digits of your social security number and date of birth, to be precise — in exchange for revealing what they already know about you.
Other than the chance to satisfy your curiosity, there’s really nothing in it for anyone but Acxiom. They even encourage users to edit any outdated or incorrect data they have on file about you. Why would anyone do that?
It does seem like AboutTheData is preying on the naive — those who think their data is safe with Acxiom, and those who think there’s something to gain by editing said data. It’s not, and there isn’t.
The only things you’re likely to get out of AboutTheData are tailored online ads (Acxiom even has a partnership with Facebook) and more junk mail.
It’s easy to imagine technophobes thinking that, by editing their data, they’re changing how they show up on Google or something — but they’re not.
And the worst part is that there’s no way of fully opting out. Even if you tell Acxiom not to share your data, there are still circumstances in which they can. In other words, you can’t just delete yourself from their file. And you’ll still get ads — just not tailored ones.
The whole thing seems like a clever ploy to trick people into handing over their data and make users believe they’re in control.
With Acxiom’s use of consumer data being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission last year, it does make you wonder what they’re trying to prove — or disguise.