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Espresso of Innovation: Data Trading

By Thorsten Linz, chief digital officer, Draftfcb Munich

Hello and welcome to this week's Espresso of Innovation: the hottest news and strongest stories from the world of creativity and technology filtered into a quick shot of inspiration. This week we’re selling to the highest bidder.

Recent revelations of PRISM, NSA and GCHQ’s activities have riled the public who are more concerned than ever about their data trail. If governments, which are supposed to protect our rights, violate them instead, how can we trust greedy companies? Of course, most companies using Big Data strategies have safeguards and policies in place and consumers are happy to trade their information for more relevant offers but this still begs the question of what our data is worth as individuals.
Companies such asHandshake try to answer this “…by building a platform where users can sign up to be approached by companies, negotiate a price for their data, and decide who to sell it to (and who not to).” It is basically paying users for their time for reading and engaging with brand communication and permitting companies to build deeper consumer profiles and target these with relevant offers. Another platform trying to offer similar services where people can offer personal information to marketers in return for discounts and other perks.
An interesting approach was made by Frederico Zannier: he initiated a Kickstarter project “A Bit[e] of Me” and sold his personal browsing and geolocation data to 213 backers cashing in $2733. Even though direct selling your data would be very tedious for both sides, his experiment clearly demonstrates that there is a market to be served.
Shane Green, CEO and cofounder of start-upPersonal, which provides a website and apps for people to securely store personal data, thinks our current model will change. “Marketing will shift toward more permission-based opportunities,” he says. This is especially true for data obtained from social and location based networks since many companies in the past used these data repositories as more or less free data vaults. CRM on the other side has always been permission-based and it will be interesting to see if “brokered” data will add any additional business value.

The key to Big Data lies in applying analysis, so sorting through and turning it into Smart Data is what is already most important for businesses to survive. To make brokering data directly between individuals and companies a promising new model for both parties, we will have to ensure two things. Firstly, how users can store and supply their data simply and intuitively, and secondly, that the data is as reliable and accurate as if it was obtained through traditional methods.