Acxiom Opts Out of Opt-Out

from the make-the-process-as-difficult-as-possible dept

There’s a service called Private Citizen that, for a small fee, will help get its customers off of direct marketing lists. The biggest provider of such lists, Acxiom, has recently decided that they will ignore any requests from Private Citizen to get people out of their database. They say, instead, that each individual person needs to contact the company directly. This is particularly ironic, in that the vast majority of people (just about everyone) who is on an Acxiom list has no clue they’re on such a list – because Acxiom certainly doesn’t wait for you to contact them directly to put you on their lists. Acxiom says they want people to contact them directly so that the opt-outs aren’t done without the person’s permission – as if there’s some sneaky group out there taking people off of direct mailing lists against the wishes of the people being inundated with spam and telemarketing calls. Meanwhile, they have no problem taking people off the list if the request comes from the Direct Marketing Association – a company of which they’re a member. So, their basic argument (people need to contact them directly) is provably false. They simply don’t like the idea of removing people if the requests come from Public Citizen.

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Comments on “Acxiom Opts Out of Opt-Out”

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Precision Blogger (user link) says:

I'm trying to opt out of Acxiom...

Acxiom makes it maximally difficult, and I think anyone can guess why. If I understand their terse and confusing and hard to find info, it works like this:
(1) I send them an email asking to opt out.
(2) They send a reply indicating that they will Snail mail me an opt out form.
(3) I do step one all over agin, including my home address. (They do not tell you to do this in the first place.)
(4) When I get the form I will fill it out and send it back. How long will it take to get their form?
(5) Some human will transcribe my form, perhaps making few enough mistakes that I actually get on their opt out list. They will probably advise me that it may take N eons for this to take effect.
(6) If I find I’m not on the opt out list and complain to them, I’ll bet they will explain that manual errors can occur, and we’ll start all over again.

It would be easy for them to give me an online form to opt out with, eliminating most of the manual errors. I wonder if I can guess why they don’t do it that way. Hmmmm…

– The Precision Blogger

Deekoo L. (user link) says:

Re: I'm trying to opt out of Acxiom...

Because they can collect more data, and more
valid data, from a multistage opt-out process
than a single-stage one. First, they get
round-trip confirmation on the email. Then, they
get a home address. When you get the form, if
you send it back, they’ll have round-trip
confirmation of the physical address. If they’re
really concerned about ensuring that the opt-out
list contains accurate data, then they can stick
a unique ID on the form they send out; that will
enable them to get an email address to physical
address map.
And, as an added bonus, the no-collect list can
itself be resold.

“Hmm. This passenger is a registered member of
the Libertarian Party, tried to get her data
removed from CAPPS V, and lives in a town that
voted against the President-For-Life in 2008.
Send her to the anal probe room.”

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