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Published in TidBITS 35.
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Out of the MarketPlace

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You may or may not have heard of Lotus MarketPlace:Households yet. It's a CD-ROM disk from Lotus that lists over 120 million names in over 80 million households in the United States. Wanna put money on whether or not you're in there? There is also MarketPlace:Business that lists over 7 million American businesses, but part of the point of being in business is being easy to find. That's not necessarily the point of life - though if the world really is just a marketing scheme, I could be wrong. The idea behind MarketPlace:Households is that if you run, say, a sleazy pseudo-legal chain letter, oops, I meant to say, multi-level marketing business, then for a mere $695 you can buy this disc and the right to use any 5000 names on it. Further 5000-name units cost another $400. By my quick calculations, buying all the names would cost $9,600,295 before taxes, which I don't want to think about until I review MacInTax. Microsoft could have bought all the names and still had some $400,000 left over to spend on Windows propaganda to send to everyone.

That's not the way most businesses will use it, of course, because you can select the 5000 names you want by region and lots of other categories. These businesses hope that they will be able to peg you perfectly based on name, address, age range, gender, marital status, dwelling type, income range, lifestyle, and shopping habits. Once they've picked you as a potential customer, the junk mail barrage begins. Ideally, they would be right every time and you'd only get interesting mail, but it doesn't work that well now. I just received an offer to subscribe to a magazine on health issues for people over 50. My grandparents are over 50, but my parents aren't, to give you an idea of how appropriate this offer was.

You have a chance to save yourself from tree-eating, landfill-filling, junk mail generated by every bozo who thinks he knows how to do complex searches. For this address, I thank Robert X. Cringely, of InfoWorld, who listed it in his year-end column. To get your name removed from the database, write to this address and tell them to remove you from all of their databases. I've already done so.

Equifax Options
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123

Information from:
Lotus propaganda
Robert Cringely, InfoWorld -- 24-Dec-90, Vol. 12, #52, pg. 62

Related articles:
InfoWorld -- 26-Nov-90, Vol. 12, #48, pg. 8

 

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