How much is your personal data worth? If a company wanted to pay you for information like your online shopping and iPhone’s location data, would you be interested?
This week Quartz featured A new way to track your data: with your permission and for a fee, exploring companies who provide compensation for audiences willing to give access to personal data. As a result of paying prices like $8 or $10 a month to each user, they are permitted access to individuals’ social media, consumer and location behavior. One of these programs even asks participants about their behavioral tendencies, which provides a coveted insight into the consumer’s mind.
Even though these companies may have found valuable information in what Quartz describes as “a souped-up focus group,” being paid for your online profile wouldn’t have much value given the relatively tiny and stratified sample of users that are likely to sign up. Without scale and a true cross section of the population, there really is no marketing value created.
Conceptually, being paid to “online shop” would only resonate as a business model if the user’s profile has value and is actively selected for campaigns. Even so, we have to ask, where is the line of the “profile rental” drawn? Could the user maintain control of their profile or would they be virtually (and insidiously) followed from the store to the kitchen table without guideposts?
Nevertheless, turning your profile into an asset is at least a start toward leveling the playing field.