In an environment where the consumer is in control of their data, their relationship with business will be far less antagonistic.
In anticipation of his presentation at the PSFK CONFERENCE 2014 we spoke with Matt Hogan, Co-Founder of Datacoup and Co-Organizer of the Personal Data NYC Meetup. Matt will join us April 11th for a panel on the intersection of the web, data and privacy, so to prepare we asked him about why he built a marketplace that pays people for their data.
How have we gotten to a point where personal data can now be considered an asset class?
In large part, there have been 3 key drivers that have gotten us to this point;
1) Technology - The ubiquity of smartphones and other connected devices has opened the floodgates to data creation.
2) The Ad-Stack - Very quickly, marketers and advertisers realized that attention + data meant very granular targeting ability. They’ve put in the pipes of an infrastructure that is set up to digest mass quantities of data, and deliver ads to individuals with the highest potential for making a sale or converting.
3) Social Media - The rise of social media has added exponentially to the amount of data available. It’s inning #1 as far as understanding the value of social data, but there is no doubt about its ascension as a major contributor to the overall data pool.
How aware is the general public of the value of their data? How are you helping educate them?
Awareness of the value of personal data, in a post-Snowden world, has grown exponentially. It’s still not clear what the nominal value of data is, but the public knows that it has tremendous value. There is a reason we are tracked all over the digital and physical world. Through our actions, we are data-generating machines. Datacoup is the tip of the price-discovery spear for personal data. We are setting up to launch publicly with two sides of a market where the price of personal data will be fully meted out. In addition, we provide in-app analytics, so the user can view their own data. It’s like looking in the digital mirror.
Beyond monetary gains how do people benefit from this marketplace?
Beyond economic benefits, providing a vehicle for people to begin to control their data and understand its value, from both a monetary and a self-tracking standpoint, is very meaningful. The more individuals educate themselves about their data, the more utility they will get out of it in the long run. From a grander vision perspective, an individual will have so many larger and more meaningful applications of their data once they have it all in one place. We hope our platform engenders demand for ownership and control of data by the individual.
Down the road, what will this new level of exchange mean for how people interact with businesses and brands?
I think there is unique opportunity to permanently change the relationship that we, as consumers, have with brands and businesses. As it relates to our data, the old method of transacting with businesses has been fairly antagonistic. Consumers have been hesitant and careful to give up any more data than required to complete a transaction, which in turn has led to increased attempts to track and surveil by businesses, which has led to more consumer guarding of information… infinite loop. Down the road, in a trusted environment where the consumer is in control of their data, and a recipient of value in exchange for sharing it, the relationship we have with vendors will be far less antagonistic, and more of a partnership.
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