The latest on this ongoing story of lawmaker’s investigation of data brokers. The blurb below names some brokers and products they offer.
Epsilon Data Management, Experian and LexisNexis said they would continue to cooperate with the Senate committee. Acxiom declined to comment. Medbase200 didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Ethnic Technologies LLC provides lists with ethnic and religious groupings, including Americans broken out by race who don’t use mainstream financial services, according to its website. The site said its customers include banks, home-mortgage lenders and credit-card companies. The company didn’t return calls seeking comment.
Exact Data ConsumerBase LLC, a provider of direct-marketing services, on its website has consumer lists such as “Americans with Student Loan Debt” and “Bankrupt Consumers in Dallas.” The company didn’t return a call seeking comment.
“The old draft is dead, and something else will eventually be resurrected in its place.”
On data collectors, brokers, and monetizers:
As big as Infogroup is, there are dozens of other for-profit intelligence businesses that are even bigger: massive multi-national intel conglomerates with revenues in the billions of dollars. Some of them, like Lexis-Nexis and Experian, are well known, but mostly these are outfits that few Americans have heard of, with names like Epsilon, Altegrity and Acxiom.
These for-profit intel behemoths are involved in everything from debt collection to credit reports to consumer tracking to healthcare analysis, and provide all manner of tailored services to government and law enforcement around the world. For instance, Acxiom has done business with most major corporations, and boasts of intel on “500 million active consumers worldwide, with about 1,500 data points per person. That includes a majority of adults in the United States,” according to the New York Times.
Facebook assures users that we should not be worried about privacy issues with targeted ads. They also remind us that advertising helps keep Facebook free:
Advertising helps keep Facebook free. We believe we can create value for the people who use our services every day by offering relevant ads that also incorporate industry-leading privacy protections. In our view, this is a win-win situation for marketers and for you.
But remember, if you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer, you’re the product being sold!
Last month, I wondered about the current state of politics within Microsoft when their IE browser team announced they would ship the next browser with Do Not Track turned on by default.
Now, BI reports that Microsoft is clearly messed up:
Nonetheless, two sources tell us that times are rocky inside Microsoft Advertising.
An ad executive involved with the IE10 dispute likened Microsoft’s browser and ad departments to entirely separate companies. Indeed, IE lives within the Windows division — Microsoft’s core business, and a major source of revenue (about $19 billion a year) and profit (about $12 billion a year), while Microsoft Advertising is part of the Online group, which is on track to lose more than $2 billion this year.
The source told us that the disconnect left the advertising team in the dark about the do-not-track default.
“The decision was made with zero discussion or awareness by the Microsoft Advertising side of it,” the source said. “And yet by the same token the company has been putting them, forcing them, forward in front of the rest of the advertising world to back it, and that’s been tough.”
Microsoft announced Thursday that the next version of its browser, IE 10, will ship with the controversial “Do Not Track” feature turned on by default, a first among major browsers, creating a potential threat to online advertising giants.
This is interesting on so many levels:
Ultimately, I’m curious whether this means Microsoft is no longer making decisions like a monopolist (or a firm with a lot of market power).