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Can a market where consumers sell their data actually work?

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Two news stories from Wednesday — one about a startup trying to play data broker between user and website and another about a study into what people would charge for their personal data — offer more evidence that there’s an appetite for a market where consumers sell their data to advertisers and website. The idea isn’t new (we wrote about its traction back in 2012) and actually has merit because it puts money in consumers’ pockets and higher-quality data in advertisers’ databases. But monetizing the idea might be easier said than done: Enliken, one of the startups we covered in that 2012 piece, appears to have closed its doors.

4 Responses to “Can a market where consumers sell their data actually work?”

  1. if they offer cash for info they will mostly be the attracting people who need money most, and so whatever they are selling would also have to target low income persons.

    are these the people the data brokers want more info on? will they pay a bunch of broke and unemployed people? if so, i think they will get plenty of takers. especially if its a quick payout.

  2. @carvoyant

    Couldn’t consumers simply use their data to “Broadcast” their need for goods/services rather than receiving untimely offers (ie spam)? Doc Searls has been preaching this gospel for a while and I believe technology offers consumers the opportunity to reach vendors with their needs in a whole new way. The API economy makes data sharing and usage much easier than even in the recent past.

  3. Gary Doan

    They would need to have a search engine and ad engine, so they could use the data they collect to show ads, based on the advertisers data. It would be simplest to do mobile only and that’s the best current opportunity with the lowest barrier of entry. Bing is basically paying people to search now, with reward points that convert to gas or Amazon cards, Netflix or Group on credit certificates and other rewards.