If you look at the huge corporate successes of recent years, they’re all very good at monetising data. Or to put it another way: they’re very good at monetising our data.
Look at Google – it earns 90 percent of its income from advertising. It can only do that by scooping up data we leave on the sites we visit, anonymising it, and selling it to brands. Brands then tie this data back to specific individuals and send targeted
Digital consumers emit a binary vapour trail wherever they go. But this vapour trail doesn’t disappear: it’s devoured by businesses that can profit from it.
My question is simple: why don’t consumers get to see any of this money? We’re excluded from a value chain that wouldn’t exist were it not for our personal data.
New laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), enshrine the rights of data owners (consumers) and set new limits for how brands can process and transact our data. Such laws recognise that we have the right to choose where our personal data
goes and formalises the ‘right to be forgotten’.
The problem is that tech companies have always excelled finding workarounds for legislation. One way they do this is through the infamously lengthy T&C documents service users habitually click away.
The turning point in this story might be on the horizon, however, thanks to the growth in popularity of disintermediation services. Disintermediation removes the middle man and allows consumers to engage directly with brands – and vice versa. Many recent
digital success stories, such as Uber and Airbnb, have been a success because of disintermediation.
Applied to personal data, disintermediation platforms allow customers to create their own value relationships with brands, free from the input of third party platforms such as Google and Facebook. The brand benefits through access to data they know is directly
attached to a specific person (so they don’t need to spend time and money analysing anonymised data), allowing them to pass on the savings to the customer while building stronger loyalty.
In the case of a bank, the disintermediation platform can be a digital data vault controlled by the customer: the customer can opt in to certain services through the vault and agree to the bank using their data in specific ways in return for cash, or a cash
A customer might consent to their bank accessing their browsing data in return for discounts. A customer searching for houses in a specific area can be offered a discounted mortgage package. Both parties are consenting to a fair exchange of data for a cash
equivalent. It’s a win-win situation.
People are waking up to the fact that the business model of many of their favourite tech brands is based on monetising their personal data. In effect the service user is the product. Consumers are increasingly demand they get something more from their valuable
I believe disintermediation will emerge as the best means through which new relationships can be built between people and their brands, relationships based on greater control for consumers over their own data.