>> This is Reuters' Tom Bergin.>> Hello.>> He's 57 years old, has a 30-year old wife, an old style television, no children, and he recently replaced his hot water boiler. Except none of that is true, apart from his name and that he does actually work here. I'm actually 46 years of age.
I have two children. My water boiler is at least 15 years old, and I won't tell you my wife's age, but I can tell you there is not a 25-year age gap. All of those inaccuracies come from Acxiom, one of the largest data miners in the world. It earns $800 million a year selling detailed consumer profiles to companies around the world to help them target their advertising.
My profile contains over 700 individual data points.>> Acxiom also thought that Tom was probably not too interested in current events. Which is ironic considering his job and that he requested his personal info after headlines around Cambridge Analytica first started circulating last year. That's the data mining firm now accused of improperly handing Facebook users' data to influence voters in the US and Britain, among other things.
Acxiom doesn't have a political arm. But it does broker information to big companies, like Ford, Tesco Supermarkets, and Facebook, too. It's still valuable, even if it's rife with errors.>> Acxiom told me that my profile may not be so accurate because my data file is quite thin. That's probably because I don't conduct online surveys.
I rarely forget to tick the do not share with third parties box on websites. But even if the majority of profiles on Acxiom contain many errors, it doesn't mean that this data is useless. From the point of view of companies seeking to target advertisements. This information is still probably better than just betting on the averages.
>> One thing Acxiom did get right, they accurately predicted his household income.