Was Your Daughter Killed in a Car Crash? Database Marketers Want to Know.


Do you ever wonder just how much personal information all those database marketing folks know about you? The short answer is: A lot. One company alone processes 50 trillion transactions a year and boasts that it has collected 1,500 “data points” each on 500 million active consumers worldwide (including a majority of adults in the United States). Try reading this and this if you want to get up to speed. But for pure creepiness, it’s hard to beat this:

A suburban Chicago couple who lost their teenage daughter in a car crash last year feels as if they were victimized again after receiving a letter from OfficeMax Thursday. The envelope was addressed to Mike Seay, but the second line read “Daughter Killed in Car Crash.”

Seay’s 17-year-old daughter, Ashley, was one of two teens killed in a crash last April when their SUV veered off the road and slammed into a tree in Antioch.

Yep. “Daughter killed in car crash” is an entry in somebody’s database record for Mike Seay. And why not? Grieving parents might be a soft target for certain kinds of goods and services, after all. You have to take advantage of those kinds of opportunities.

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GREAT JOURNALISM, SLOW FUNDRAISING

Our team has been on fire lately—publishing sweeping, one-of-a-kind investigations, ambitious, groundbreaking projects, and even releasing “the holy shit documentary of the year.” And that’s on top of protecting free and fair elections and standing up to bullies and BS when others in the media don’t.

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So, two things:

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