It’s time to re-balance the data & advertising scales.

After 12 years in ad tech, I could sum up the changing landscape in one word: DATA.

For years, consumers have browsed websites and made online purchases, leaving a trail of valuable data. They didn’t seem to notice or mind at first — it felt like a small price to pay for the convenience of this new way of living our commercial and social lives.

Meanwhile, that data was a goldmine — a huge asset to ad tech for sure, but if you looked beyond ad tech and into other industries, you saw a similar story. The data and the algorithmic (AI) applications on top of all that data were driving enormous improvements and cost efficiencies.

The “data industry” is exploding. Some experts value it at $1 trillion dollars annually and growing. Data has begun to be called the “new oil.” And consumers (“oil fields”) were the largest provider of data.

We have now arrived at a strange paradox: the same data (“oil”) being collected from consumers (“oil fields”) is being used (“refined”) by data and advertising companies (and other industries) to generate enormous profits and also eliminate many of the jobs held by these same consumers. But none of these profits are being shared with the consumers, the rightful owners of the data.

This situation was simply not fair.

Enter ad blocking.

Ad blocking arrived in ~2010 and hit a growth inflection point in 2013.

  1. Apple introduced ad blocking extension capability for iOS in September 2015.
  2. The number of users running ad blocking software now exceeds 200 million, and is growing at >50% per annum.
  3. Industry experts have estimated the lost ad revenue due to ad blocking at ~$20–22 billion in 2015 alone.
  4. Facebook filed with the SEC in Q4 2015 stating that ad blocking was a serious threat to revenue.
  5. Google, Microsoft, Amazon and many other companies are now paying tens of millions of dollars to the largest ad blockers to bypass their blocking list.

Consumers now have a user-agent or bot that can block data harvesting, at least during their online activities. But the software also has the ability to go one step further. It can block the advertising that is the other half of the lifeblood of most data and advertising companies.

The tables have been officially turned.

We now know it’s time to re-balance the data & advertising scales.

We believe it’s time to move forward. Everyone needs to come to the negotiating table and give consumers control over and the ability to profit from their data. Realistically, we know this will happen only when consumers have organized themselves — when we all demand this with a single, unified voice.

That single voice should come in the form of a consumer data union. Ourdata.us is that organization.

As someone who’s been in this industry for a very long time, I’m convinced that a data union is the only way for “fair capitalism” to thrive; for every stakeholder to have both a fair hearing of their position and a fair share of the tremendous value generated.

We formed as a Public Benefit Corporation, so that Ourdata can legally pursue maximum public benefit and not face the potential, natural compromise or conflict that can arise with purely financial sponsors.

You can join for free by simply downloading the iOS app here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ourdata/id1114899553?mt=8. (Android and Chrome desktop to follow shortly.)

Then encourage your family, friends and co-workers to join. Because the more members that join the union, the more power the union will have in negotiating with data companies; giving us all the best chance to control and profit from our data. And after all, it IS our data.

To learn more visit www.ourdata.us

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