What if People Were Paid for Their Data?
The Economist

When I came up with this very idea — people should get paid for their data — back in 1998/1999, in the midst of the then-CRM/personalized services/data mining hype, people thought I was going bonkers. Nice to see it comes up again, some 20 years later ☺ Meanwhile though I think the opportunity has passed, as in fact we’re all already sort of paid for our data by receiving free services. Granted, the free service is usually paid for by advertisers, and that’s where the money&profits come from. Let’s imagine for a minute companies were required to pay users directly, in plus of paying for the cost of operarting the service. Say gmail or facebook were to pay 10% of their net income back to their users, and so would everyone else selling in effect access to users based on their data. All in, the cost of service would increase, and since everyone is required to do so, all the services’ cost would raise. The net effect would be that advertising cost increases and with that the prices of the products sold would increase too. Net effect to consumers: zero. In extension, some networks would start offering their services for a guaranteed discount on prices for the products they advertise on (tag line “we help you spend less if you help us to reduce cost”). Again, net effect zero.