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    New York Times: The Data That Turns Browsing to Buying

    The New York Times has an interesting story on Next Jump, a company that handles employee discounts and customer rewards programs for a number of businesses.

    More than 100 million Americans have access to Next Jump’s e-commerce marketplace, and 10 million a year are customers.

    As it has quietly expanded, Next Jump has been gathering data, and not only from companies and customers. It also gets credit-card transaction data from American Express and MasterCard. This vast trove — accumulated over years — is the company’s most precious asset, analysts say.

    Next Jump analyzes that data to draw inferences about what a person would be likely to buy, and at what price. Its network also includes 28,000 retailers who can specify the characteristics of customers — age, location, income, for example — that they are most interested in luring with certain products.

    Next Jump’s software then tailors offerings to small segments of potential customers, down to individuals, often reaching them with e-mail alerts. “It’s true microtargeting,” Mr. Kim said. […]

    Gautam Arora joined the company in June, after receiving his master’s degree in computer science from Georgia Tech. He chose Next Jump over Microsoft and a few Silicon Valley companies.

    “I had my doubts at first,” Mr. Arora said. “From the outside, it looks like just a shopping portal for employee perks. But look more closely, and you see a company that has morphed into a personalized advertising platform, and a company that could influence how advertising and marketing are done on the Internet.”

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