Acxiom and Privo to create "Do Not Contact" registry for children

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Acxiom Corp. has teamed up with Privacy Vaults Online Inc. (Privo) to create a do-not-contact online registry for children.

The Protect My Child Registry is slated to go live by third quarter 2009. It combines Acxiom's identity management and data assets with Privo's online youth registration and parental permission tools to allow parents to create “do not contact” profiles for registered children. Based on a registered child's age, member Web sites will be able to limit the child's access to their site and content — including mobile content and online ads.

“The Acxiom risk mitigation division uses its database for identity protection and fraud prevention purposes, so this idea was right up our alley,” said Tim Christin, SVP Acxiom risk mitigation. “We'd been dealing with Privo for a number of months, and we thought it was an opportunity for us to offer a reasonable solution for parents who want to protect their kids.

“There's a growing need for managing your identity online, and I think that the more people become aware of exactly how vulnerable they are, the easier we can get them in motion to manage their online identities,” he said.

The new offering is part of an Acxiom initiative to go directly to consumers, Christin said. The company has traditionally favored the business-to-business space, but would like to be seen as “champions of consumers and their privacy.”

One challenge to working directly with consumers may be encouraging them to sign up for the program. To boost participation, the registry offers educational content to parents and children. In addition, Acxiom has some plans for promoting the registry publicly, but Christin said they were not quite ready to divulge what those may be.

In an effort to further strengthen the registry, Acxiom and Privo are establishing partnerships with social networks and marketing associations that may directly contact children.

Christin said he didn't expect the Protect My Child Registry alone to have a huge effect on online marketing, but that it could pave the way for more innovations in time.

“Later down the road, it may help consumers get an even stronger voice in marketing by letting them share preferences and giving permission to only market to them in certain ways,” he explained. “I think it is a trend that is happening now, and we are out in front of it. We can improve the experience of consumers and merchants by providing a verified consumer base to market to by something other than demographic inferences.”

The registry will be available nationwide, as well as in US territories and Canada.

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