Analyst Sees More Change For Acxiom

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Mar. 18, 2013 12:00 am  

Nada Stirratt

The recent rebranding of Little Rock’s Acxiom Corp. appeared suddenly and without fanfare. It’s the latest in a series of changes in direction for the miner of big data.

Carter Malloy, an analyst for Stephens Inc. in Little Rock, covers Acxiom. He said the move wasn’t unexpected.

The most immediate difference between the old logo and the new one is the change from all upper case letters to all lower case. A subtle way of Acxiom trying to make itself appear less threatening? Perhaps.

Malloy said the logo was less “in-your-face” and the rebranding was “appropriate.” The same day Acxiom’s new logo appeared, the company’s chief product and engineering officer, Phil Mui, along with chief revenue officer Nada Stirratt, hosted a product briefing in New York City, where several new data-tracking products were shown. Malloy said the briefing represented a major step forward for the company.

“The improvement in property interface and the investment in functionality have already yielded some pretty significant changes,” Malloy said. “If these guys have made this many strides in this short amount of time, and they’re really working on their products, there’s a lot in store for Acxiom’s future.”

Acxiom’s recent pairing with Facebook ties into the company’s future vision as well.

Acxiom is “now working with Facebook, Yahoo, AOL — you’ve got all the most dominant content providers online,” Malloy said. He noted, however, that the future is still foggy: what those relationships are yielding today is “insignificant.” His report on the briefing said that efforts to overhaul the company’s product could still fail despite upper management’s good showing so far.

The company’s stock price has hovered between $18 and $19 throughout March, having risen gradually from below $10 in the summer of 2011, when Scott Howe arrived as CEO. Acxiom’s revenue has been on the decline, but net income has improved. Its current fiscal year will end in a couple of weeks, but for the first three quarters, revenue was off by 3 percent (to $822 million) while income from operations improved by 30 percent (to $82.5 million).

Private Eyes

Speaking of Acxiom and Facebook, since the two are now in league, you may be concerned that none of your information will go un-hawked. You’re not wrong.

The process is a bit arduous, and it won’t be helping Facebook’s revenue, but it’s possible to opt out of targeted ads. Privacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation have lately been posting tutorials on the subject.

The easiest way to stop Facebook and its data marketer partner BlueKai from collecting your data is by installing free privacy add-ons like AdBlock Plus, which stops many ads from appearing, and the EFF’s Https Everywhere, which makes all websites encrypted. Keeping your phone number off Facebook also gives corporations less information to collect.

Acxiom’s collecting can be stopped by filling out the form at Acxiom.com/OptOut.

To finish the job, the same process should be done for Facebook’s other data miner partners: Datalogix (Datalogix.com/Privacy) and Epsilon (Epsilon.com/Consumer-Preference-Center).

 

 

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