Data is strength in the digital economy. Multi-national corporations have actually made agriculture data native monitoring whatever we do – what we buy, who we talk to, wherein we take vacation – a core business strategy.

The pace and also scale that this data farming has actually undoubtedly accelerated exponentially in current years many thanks to the internet, social media and the gestation of the “always online” society. But it was going top top long before Facebook and Google to be on the scene.


“Data brokers” started building databases in the mid 20th century, come cat alogue us and also our habits for marketing, fraud detection or credit scoring purposes. And also in the internet age, they have eagerly adjusted to have the ability to ingest and process the far richer and an ext insight-laden streams of info we do available around ourselves today.

here is a summary of few of the companies which probably recognize as much, or more, about us as Google or Facebook, but generally us know far less around them.


Acxiom began life together demographics, as a side-project by Charles Ward to collection data for use in local politics. Described as “the biggest firm you’ve never heard of”, that pioneered the company model of collecting data top top people, segmenting them and selling it to various other businesses to usage in your marketing. Many thanks to partnerships v banks and also retailers start in the beforehand 80s it ended up being a people leader in direct marketing, and also marketing data-broking.

this day they case to hold data top top “all however a small percentage ” of us households, and their data is said to be offered to do 12   % the the nation’s straight marketing sales. The firm has to be criti cise d in particular for reports that people have discovered it difficult to avoid Acxiom from utilizing their data, or to remove their data native Acxiom’s systems. It has responded to this in recent years by providing a worldwide “opt-out” and giving consumers part visibility around what information on them is held, through the website


Nielsen has actually been around since 1923 and has established itself together a leader in market research and also ratings. As well as US customer beha viour , i beg your pardon it procedures through that National consumer Program . The is active in collection data on consumer in end 100 other countries. It likewise pioneered audience measurement methods for TV, music, radio and magazine audiences which have end up being industry standard. Last year it announced plan to do its sleeve database – known as consumer Packaged items (CPG) – publicly easily accessible (for a cost) ~ above a large scale, to permit other enterprise to construct applications based on the data. You have the right to see an exciting graphical background of the companyhere.


Experian, as it is currently known, started when a united state credit reference company of the very same name was gained in 1996 by UK direct marketing professionals GUS, i beg your pardon had brought out mail order sales using cat alogues due to the fact that 1900. The group combined credit scoring through the database and marketing specialization it had developed over the year to begin offering the services across multiple industries, originally financial and then expanding into all sectors. It additionally began selling directly to consumers – by providing insights right into their own credit worthiness based on data gathered through Experian and also bought in from third parties. This was a shrewd (some can say cynical!) relocate as that capit alis ed on farming public awareness of corporate data-gathering i beg your pardon had begun to make news headlines around the time. The firm landed chin in warm water with the us federal profession commission over the method this service was marketed – through providing a cost-free trial which immediately (and with an inadequate warning, it was alleged) rolled over right into a paid subscription.


Equifax is the oldest firm covered here, developed in Georgia, us in 1899. Credit recommendations were that core service from the beginning, and providing data come insurance companies to assess danger and set premiums. In the 1970s, the agency was criti cise d based on a perception that it was selling data on personal beha viour together as sexual orientation, playing along with a theory that such features could suspect the likelihood of human being repaying your loans. This particular day Equifax is claimed to hold information ~ above 800 million individuals roughly the world, with profits of $3.1 billion critical year.


Corelogic primarily provides services because that the mortgage and real legacy industries. The is younger 보다 the various other businesses extended here, having actually been formed when an initial American Corporation acquired ownership of Experian’s actual estate data in the 1990s. This day it offers analytics for the mortgage industry based on data that gathers from open up sources, its own customer base, and also brought in from other brokers.

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A united state FTC report in 2014 uncovered that it organized data ~ above 795 million historical property transactions, and 93 million mortgage applications. The same report names that as one of the top data broking professionals (including Acxiom, likewise covered here) top the sector in an market which largely operated with small public awareness that its general practices.