BOSTON, Oct. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Amid the most expensive election cycle in U.S. history, Abine's DeleteMe division today launched its new "What's My Vote Worth" Online Calculator to show citizens the dollar value of their vote to political advertisers.
Using DeleteMe's simple online calculator, citizens can quickly enter anonymous information about themselves - their state, party affiliation, voter history, age, education, racial identity, and online activity level - and within seconds see a projected dollar-estimate of how much was spent on advertising to win their vote, highlighting how personal information is used to discriminate between different groups of people during the election process.
The 2020 campaign season is projected to see almost $7 Billion in total ad spend. Notably, digital ad spend is growing the fastest, having tripled in the last 2 years to over 20% of total election ad dollars.
According to DeleteMe's analysis, the explosion in digital spend is due to rapidly advancing ad technology and an abundance of private voter data, that lets advertisers target narrow groups of voters with alarming precision.
"I think most voters sense that political advertising is out of control, but would be shocked by the differences in how these ad dollars are spent across different groups," says Abine CEO Rob Shavell. "While the average American voter is worth $46 to advertisers, the most prized voters are targeted with nearly $300 worth of ads while others received a mere $10. It's absurd, and it's largely powered by an abundance of our private information available online."
To better understand the issue, it's worth noting that political advertisers get voter information principally from two sources:
State Provided Voter Roll Data: These are publicly available, often poorly-secured, public voter records provided to political campaigns from individual states. These records include personal contact information - home address, phone, voting history, and sometimes the last 4 digits of a social security number. While these sources are intended only for approved political entities, recent searches have found hundreds of millions of personal voter records for sale on hacker sites and the dark web.
Data Brokers and Political Consultants: These are for-profit entities that sell private citizen information to anyone without oversight, for as little as $.99 per record. DeleteMe reports these brokers have data on over 97% of all U.S. adults, and these companies enrich voter records with social media data and browsing habits to create categories like "Individuals who are likely to have a large presence/following on social media, often sharing political content."
Using this data and ad platforms like Facebook and Google, advertisers create and run campaigns to increasingly narrow audiences with finely-tailored, workshopped messages.
"Our aim in making this tool was to highlight a growing problem - that advertisers of all kinds are using our data to target us online with ads custom-made to persuade our thinking," adds Shavell. "It's upsetting enough when advertisers use this data to sell us a vacation or a new pair of shoes. But when the election is on the line and U.S. voters ARE effectively the product being segmented and sold to political parties, the stakes are a lot higher."
Abine, The Online Privacy Company, is a leading voice in online privacy and has protected millions worldwide via two solutions. 1. Blur is a password / identity manager which protects consumers' payments, passwords and privacy (available for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple iOS and Android). 2. DeleteMe is the leading and most trusted information removal and data broker opt-out service for reducing someone's digital footprint. DeleteMe is dedicated to helping remove and secure personal information that should be private but is easy to search on Google and to purchase at dozens of data brokers. With over 30 Million successful opt-outs completed, DeleteMe's the #1 information removal service and has subscriptions covering executives, employees, individuals, couples, and families. For more information, please visit www.joindeleteme.com