'Data Lockers' Promise Cash for Users' Data

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cmophil
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Alan,

Good point. I consider it like the people that do scientific trials for a living. After a certain point, do you really value the results that they produce? They've been through so many other tests that you might end up skewing your own metrics.

John Barnes
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Re: Going somewhere
John Barnes   3/31/2012 4:28:50 PM
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Let me consult the Tarot cards and get back to you <g>.

It's not the payment that corrupts, it's attracting people who have no opinion and only letting them get the reward if they have one. The thing is, most of us who sell marketing research are nervous, to say the least, about telling someone "Ninety percent of the population cannot tell the difference between your product and an empty paper bag, and nothing you say appears to get them interested."  To a great extent, the big Unreportable out there is "Nobody cares about your product," no matter how true that may be.  Paid survey taking makes this particularly worse becasue rather than honestly reflecting mass indifference it encourages people to pretend to be interested.

Alan A. Reiter
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Re: Going somewhere
Alan A. Reiter   3/31/2012 4:20:35 PM
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Hi John Barnes,

Yes, that's what I think the commenter magneticnorth was getting at. If you pay someone for an opinion, is that opinion "corrupted" by the payment?

As an expert in statistical semiotics, you're more qualified to answer that than I.

John Barnes
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Re: Going somewhere
John Barnes   3/31/2012 4:00:01 PM
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Well, that gets very close to the historical problem with paid surveys: if I actually have no opinion whatsoever about, say, Green Giant Spinach, but you will pay me $10 for my opinion about it, I will develop an opinion -- but what that opinion has to do with any actual grocery shopper's opinion is highly problematic.

Alan A. Reiter
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Proponent
Re: Going somewhere
Alan A. Reiter   3/31/2012 3:56:40 PM
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Hi John Barnes,

What if Personal.com (and any similar sites) would suggest to its users posting information that's especially useful to marketers and/or allow marketers to post questions? That way, Personal.com users would share (for a price) data that was more valuable.

Personal.com could suggest users complete a detailed profile with numerous categories. Perhaps users could answer detailed online surveys and complete questionnaires, such as "what do you specifically like about Tide" or "what didn't you like about Golden Nugget."

John Barnes
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Blogger
Re: Going somewhere
John Barnes   3/31/2012 3:43:05 PM
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I think that's where you've put your finger on it: what will people reveal, via a data locker, that they won't reveal for free?

Alan A. Reiter
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Proponent

Hi Barbara Krafte,

The upside for the user depends upon what the marketers are willing to offer (minus any percentage to Personal.com). Users could be offered a variety of incentives, including discounts on products, free products and cash.

But as a commenter, magneticnorth, notes, the sort of people who would be willing to provide information might not be the sort marketers would care about. Personal.com is still in beta so there's no detailed information from which to draw "final" conclusions.

Alan A. Reiter
User Rank
Proponent

Hi WaqasAltaf,

Personal.com wants to serve as a middleman between the user and the marketer. In order to obtain the information which users have agreed to share, marketers must go through Personal.com, which will get money for releasing the data.

The details haven't been worked out or, at least, publicly disclosed. I don't know whether Personal.com would receive a percentage of the money offered by marketers to users or receive an amount a flat amount based on the number of users or what.

Alan A. Reiter
User Rank
Proponent

Hi magneticnorth (Joy),

You've hit on a major point. Will the groups of people willing to provide personal information in exchange for cash, discounts, whatever -- be the type of people marketers would want to reach and would the information be valuable enough to pay for?

Of course, people now provide all sorts of information for free.

Alan A. Reiter
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Proponent
Re: Going somewhere
Alan A. Reiter   3/31/2012 2:55:41 PM
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Hi John Barnes,

Millions of consumers already are willing to provide all sorts of information in exchange for "free" services like Facebook, let alone for almost any worthless trinket. So I don't think there would be a problem with people willing to provide information for Personal.com.

The big question, though, is whether a sufficient number of people would provide a sufficient amount of information that's not readily available from other sources to make it worthwhile to marketers.

(Good luck with the next book. It sounds very interesting.)

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