I have to say, though, that most of the information they have about me is incorrect. They think I have 2 mortgages and drive a Dodge Ram. Regardless of its validity, it's pretty cool to be able to see it all, and even edit it so that ads you see on the internet are better suited to your needs and wants.
I just left it alone because I don't really pay attention to internet ads, and could care less if they're tailored to my personality or not. If that's something you care about, go ahead and edit it; but if not, it's cool just seeing the report.
Another new website, Topsy, compiles every Twitter post ever published. It allows you to search for any keyword producing results that date back to the dawn of Twitter. Pretty interesting. There are paid accounts that are most likely for advertisers and product developers, but the free account lets you search for something like your lover's activity before you started dating, even if it's been deleted. The internet gets smarter and smarter every day.
Update - 09/05/13: This report came out today in the New York Times 'Bits' Newsletter about the About The Data site I mentioned yesterday in the above blog. Here's what they have to say:
Acxiom Draws Aside (a Bit) the Veil of Data Gathering | Aboutthedata.com, a Web site introduced on Wednesday by a leading marketing technology firm called the Acxiom Corporation, is offering individual consumers a glimpse of some of the details the company has collected about them, Natasha Singer reports.
Visitors who log in to the site may review many seemingly innocuous facts, such as whether someone in their household owns a dog or a cat, or is interested in jogging or biking.Aboutthedata.com delivers a soothing message about Acxiom, a data broker that collects, stores, analyzes and sells billions of pieces of information about consumers with the aim of helping corporate clients like banks, insurers and retailers aim marketing pitches at specific audience segments.
"We have come to expect companies will make their interactions with us personal," the site says. "We no longer want to receive mass marketing - getting bombarded with ads that have no relevancy to our lives.
"Yet critics say the new consumer site omits so many details about Acxiom's data-gathering and analysis practices that it sanitizes the data mining behind data-driven marketing.
Aboutthedata.com, at least in its initial incarnation, leaves out many data elements that Acxiom markets to its corporate clients - intimate details like whether a person is a "potential inheritor" or an "adult with senior parent," or whether a household has a "diabetic focus" or "senior needs." Without a more complete picture of industry practices, privacy advocates say, consumers cannot make informed decisions about whether to share personal information with companies.