Got good credit? Google wants you.


So you pop over to Google to find a flight to Albuquerque or an aquarium for your kid, and suddenly you're being hit with come-ons from luxury companies inducing you to forget the recession that's raging and drop some of your hard-earned bucks on their baubles.

What's going on here? The search giant has found yet another new and potentially lucrative way of segmenting customers for its advertisers. It's targeting users by their FICO scores.

A spokesperson from Google said in a statement , "[T]here are no plans for Google to use FICO related targeting for any of its products or offerings... Google is not targeting individuals based on their credit scores." However, here's what a Google exec had to say about the matter.

"Let's say we have an advertiser who wants to reach consumers with a high FICO score who applied for mortgages in the first quarter," Google senior industry marketing manager Masha Korsunsky told MediaPost in this article. "We can provide the advertiser with a list of Web sites on our Google content network that index against this segment."

Google and data analytics firm Compete just launched a pilot program using Compete's database of 2 million web-browsing Americans. (According to Google, only a "small portion" of these 2 million were involved in the FICO initiative.) A Google spokesperson asserted via email that the search giant doesn't have access to individuals' FICO scores. The spokesperson added that even Compete itself does not have this information, saying that the anonymous matching was done by what it termed a "sister company" of Compete's called Intellidyne. Walletpop attempted to find out from Compete the relationship between their firm and Intellidyne as well as how consumer FICO data was handled. A representative from Compete sent this reply via email: "Google has asked us not to discuss the details of this matching process on the Credit Score research."