Website Lets You See Your ‘Secret’ Marketing Data

What's Hot

23 Upgrades Under $50 to Make Your House Look AwesomeAround The House

Trump Worth $10 Billion Less Than If He’d Simply Invested in Index FundsBusiness

Do This or Your iPhone Bill May SkyrocketSave

19 Moves That Will Help You Retire Early and in StyleFamily

11 Places in the World Where You Can Afford to Retire in StyleMore

What You Need to Know for 2017 Obamacare EnrollmentFamily

The 35 Two-Year Colleges That Produce the Highest EarnersCollege

5 DIY Ways to Make Your Car Smell GreatCars

8 Things Rich People Buy That Make Them Look DumbAround The House

50 Ways to Make a Fast $50 (or Lots More)Grow

32 of the Highest-Paid American SpeakersMake

Amazon Prime No Longer Pledges Free 2-Day Shipping on All ItemsMore

5 Reasons a Roth IRA Should Be Part of Your Retirement PlanGrow

More Caffeine Means Less Dementia for WomenFamily

7 Household Hacks That Save You CashAround The House

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

Beware These 10 Retail Sales Tricks That Get You to Spend MoreMore

You can find out what marketing firms think they know about you, such as your occupation and the car you drive. Did they get it right?

This post comes from Bob Sullivan at partner site

Consumers can now get a peek under the hood of the secretive database that marketing companies use to profile them, under a new initiative launched by data warehouser Acxiom.

U.S. adults who visit can sign up and get a general idea of the dossier that marketing firms use to target them with junk mail, electronic advertising and more.

The website was launched as part of a kinder, gentler image that Acxiom is trying to adopt.

“Companies like ours haven’t historically done a good job of educating people on what we do with data about them,” wrote Acxiom CEO Scott Howe in a blog post accompanying the launch of the site. “We get it. We really do. Actually, for far too long, Acxiom has contributed to the mystery surrounding the world of ‘big data.’ Quite frankly, that’s not OK. So we’re trying to do something about it.”

Consumers who visit the site find out what Acxiom thinks it knows about their cars, home loans, age and household. There’s also educated guesses on shopping habits and household interests.

Much of the data may not be correct. (Acxiom thinks I am a blue-collar craftsman. I’m proud of that, but it’s not accurate.)

Checking your data

Users must provide a substantial amount of personal information when they sign up, including their birthday and Social Security number. Understandably, some users will be loathe to hand over such data to Acxiom, but Howe says it’s purely to verify the identity of the user, and the information won’t end up in Acxiom’s database.

“Your answers to these questions are not stored in our marketing database nor used for any subsequent marketing purposes. Period,” he writes.

That doesn’t strictly rule out Acxiom using the information to clean up inaccuracies in data it already holds — such as incorrect birthdays or ages — so users should weigh the choice to use AboutTheData carefully.

The site also doesn’t give users any specific information about where Acxiom’s data comes from — such as, who told the database that I was a craftsman, or what data contributed to that guess? And there is no promise that the site offers users everything that Acxiom knows about them.

But it does give users a chance to correct inaccurate information, and it offers a (albeit clunky) way to opt out of Acxiom’s data. For that, it’s worth exploring.

Checking your credit reports

While users are thinking about what companies know about them, they should consider getting a free copy of their annual credit report disclosures. These go far beyond the free traditional credit reports offered at There are also specialty credit reports, such as:

  • The CLUE (comprehensive loss underwriting exchange) report, which covers homeowners and auto insurance claims.
  • A tenant history report, which can be obtained from ChoicePoint.
  • The Chexsystems report, which covers bad checks.
  • The MIB report from the Medical Information Bureau, which covers certain health care claims.

You can also consider taking steps immediately to protect your privacy, such as checking your Google or Facebook history.

More on

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 19 Cheap or Free Ways to Cut Your Winter Energy Bills

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,740 more deals!