Welcome to our second blog post! We’re happy to have you here and we have some exciting news to share with you. Since our last post, we have officially launched our first service: a free report of what companies Facebook has sold your information to, what personal information of yours that they have, and additional sites you have been tracked to off of Facebook. If you haven’t already, go check it out and let us know what you think! Now, let’s get into the main topic of today’s post: The monetary value of YOUR data.
When you think of the things that contribute to your personal monetary value, what comes to your head? Is it your house? Your car? Your job? The truth is there are tons of things that make it up, but we’ll be focusing on one you may have never even considered: your data. The truth is your information is incredibly valuable in the online marketplace, but as a consumer, the profits have been withheld from you.
What does it mean to say your data or your information? We’re talking about things like your email address, telephone number, home address, buying habits, or even just your age. All of these data points have a value and companies know it, but they don’t want to tell you. In fact, just the email address of one internet user alone is said to be worth $89 dollars to any brand according to research done by Experian. Additionally, according to Zenith, an ad measurement company, the average adult internet user generates about $35 every month for companies using targeting advertising on them.
Why am I not seeing any of this money?
It’s no secret that companies like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are free and yet they turn over massive yearly profits. They do this by tracking your virtually every move and building out a profile of exactly who you are and how you behave. Advertisers know there is no better platform to publicize their services on, so they pay a premium to use Facebook’s advertising feature. Not that anyone really reads them, but the terms and conditions, through circular language and industry jargon, state that this is something that they are allowed to do. However, just because you cannot stop them from doing this (yet) does not mean that it is impossible for you to profit off of the data. After all, it is your information.
Are there any solutions?
There are several ways that different companies are currently trying to tackle this issue. There are browsers like Brave and DuckDuckGo that aim to completely anonymize you, stopping the collection of your data. There are also companies like Universal Basic Data Income (UBDI), who are building a service that allows users to share some or all of their information with the company. They turn around and sell that info to advertisers and cut the users in on the profit. The landscape of data privacy is changing quickly, and it seems, at least for now, that things are getting better for the average internet user.
Why are we talking about this?
The bottom line here is that consumers need more of a say in who has their data and what is being done with it. In a world where companies are tracking your every move and selling it to others, every party whose hands it crosses into has the potential to be hacked or otherwise leak the information accidentally. Consumers need to be able to rest assured that their personal information is safe and sound online. Additionally, the power needs to be shifted away from the corporation, back to the individual whose data is being taken advantage of.
We want to be on the forefront of this change. In this iteration of our service, we are trying to expose everyone to the extent that their data is being accessed, but that is not our end goal. We want to help the average user get what they deserve in exchange for their data. We want to place the future of the company in the hands of the user, so if you haven’t already, go ahead and generate yourself a report from the profile page. Comment below if you would be interested in potentially profiting from your personal data!
– Will and Campbell