Further adventures in data mining, Or welcome to my Lear Jet lifestyle

Data miners like Acxiom know a lot about you -- or at least they think they do. We may soon find out exactly how much.

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The names of the clusters are pretty damned amusing: Are you a Young Workboots (cluster #58), a Married Sophisticate (#18), or just Truckin’ & Stylin’ (#41)? You might be an Urban Scrambler (#61) with Kids & Clout (#11), or a Rural Rover (#60) with a Lavish Lifestyle (#7). And if you’re about to kick the bucket – or already have, but apparently haven’t noticed – you might be Rural Everlasting (#64).

To find your cluster you have to provide information like your age, marital status, number of children, income and net worth; Acxiom says it won’t store this data or associate it with your browser. I filled out the form with my real info. Here’s the group I allegedly fit in:

Yep, that’s me all over. The tailored suit, the well coiffed hair, the private jet, the trophy wife. Uh huh.

Per the text:

“These households are wealthy couples with mostly teenage children and the minivans to move them. They enjoy very high incomes and educations. The are likely to shop at Kohl’s and online…. While they are often active outdoors with activities such as bicycling, roller blading or jogging, they are just as likely to enjoy time around the house barbecuing and entertaining friends.”

Sorry, Acxiom. Where I live, people who own Lear Jets do not shop at Kohl’s. People who live in houses with wheels on the bottom shop at Kohl’s. Beknighted individuals who own their own private aircraft don’t do their own barbecuing; they have people for that. And minivans – seriously?

Once again you gotta wonder where they’re coming up with this s**t. Two weeks ago another Web tracker pegged me as a “trendy homemaker” and a “soccer mom.” Now I’m Donald Trump with a Honda Odyssey.

But here’s the rub. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that they’re wrong – they’re still going to use that data to make decisions about you and me. Today those decisions are about what ads to show you. Tomorrow, they might be about whether to hire or insure you, how much to charge you, or whether you’re allowed into some special membership/club/whatever.

Remember, it doesn’t matter who you are, it’s who they think you are that counts. So it’s a good idea to find out, eh?

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