Get Paid For Your Data!

The data corporations are banking in on our social graph. They refine the billions of individual data points left behind by millions of users into hard cash. Ok, it is not quite that simple. To be precise, they run their databases through a series of expensive, sophisticated algorithms. As a result, the sum of all user data returns valuable social graphs, upon which they can act.

Amazon recommendations, Facebook news feeds, Google searches, Uber pricing, OkCupid matches — the list is endless. They all depend on millions of individuals giving their data away for free. But is this fair? Shouldn’t we all get compensated for our data? How much is each user’s data worth anyway?

In this article, we want to explain our approach in detail. Let’s begin with the last question. Depending on the source each facebook user’s data worth ranks in between 3.5 and 5.0 US dollars per year. That equals roughly the 2 or 3 small beers the wysker core team enjoys on special occasions after work, after a long night of pondering code, data philosophy, and ICOs.

It amounts to more or less almost nothing. The riches of the data giants hence accumulate because they are user billionaires. Only then they become profit billionaires. And one might entirely righteously argue, that this is a fair price for their service. After all, it is a service we value. We get it for free. We pay reasonably for the service in raw data. And the billions are a result of many people liking it.

For the most part, the discussion ends here. This is the state of things, and we accept it. Influential tech troublemakers are far and few in between. And you guessed it the most influential of them got in our heads. We quoted him on this blog before, and we will again. Here comes Mr. Jaron Lanier:

“A nano payment, proportionally both to the degree of contribution and the resultant value, will be due to the person…. An idea that takes capitalism more seriously than it has been taken before. A market economy should not just be about ‘businesses’, but about everyone who contributes value.”1

After all, if we would want to revoke a metaphor, it would look like this. User data is like iron ore. If you refine it into steel, its value will grow substantially. And this is where the discussion usually gets odd. Because the thinking and therefore the metaphor stops halfway — the critiques step in with objections. And they use an old world argument — supply and demand.

Data is available in unbelievable amounts. The supply of is so high that it hardly makes sense to reward the supplier of the raw material at all. And so the mantra goes: Give us your data for free. It makes sense. Come on, we will make you a beautiful knife for free. It is reasonable.

At wysker, we didn’t stop our think there. Maybe that’s the reason for the late night session and sleepless nights thinking. If we produce a higher value product from iron ore than a blunt steel knife, we could give a fair share to the iron ore miners. How about a sharp knife? A complete set of knife, fork, spoon? How about an engine?

Before we see our analogy fail entirely, let’s return to data. Point blank: your personal data value rises with the value of the service that exits the refinery. What we did at wysker is inventing an e-commerce processes that raise your data value.

The first thing we did, was finding ways to identify purchase intent. This makes your data a lot more valuable to advertisers and retailers. They want to know if you would like something. And they are willing to pay for that knowledge.

Not enough. We decided to be brave. Maybe even a bit too brave. But we sincerely believe in the next step. wysker gives users the full right to withhold data. wysker allows self-censorship. Now, widespread self-censorship gives data refineries the fear shivers. They can neither produce an accurate service nor profits without those billions of data points. So it takes a bit of a new perspective to allow it.

The wysker Platform continues as follows: by giving access to an advertiser or retailer the user verifies his interest. He opts-in. He gives informed consent. And here comes the paradox. This raises the data value further, because the advertiser now knows, that you want to hear his offer. After all one must realize: admen do not want to bombard a million by-passers on the roadside with a billboard. They do not want to broadcast to a million disinterested people during the super bowl. Yeah, it’s fun to be super creative and entertain them, but in the end, it is about creating sales opportunities. What advertisers want is to speak only to qualified contacts. wysker offers them super qualified contacts — they suddenly only talk to people who are very interested in their product down to the detail. And that on top want to see the ad. It doesn’t come better or more valuable in the ad world.

This is advertising by consent 2.0.

The next “but” is around the corner: In the age of fear of a lack of privacy, what if the users refuse consent in mass. Well, this is a real risk. But think again. They give access to their data when they have a serious purchase intent. They want the product, and they want to be serviced. Why should they refuse completely? Users are smart enough to distinguish between giving their data away indiscriminately or getting something in return. If at all the return with wysker will be much higher than with any other refineries. It might not be too risky after all to hand over the full agency to the users.

But back to the story. At this point, we raised the data value. Advertisers are willing to give to get. Users are willing to give to get. Now we need to find a way to make data tradable. And measure its value. To make the direct trade of data between consumers and retailers and advertisers possible we invented a utility token: the wys Token.

With it, we can award users for product views on the wysker App — our data generator. We can reward them for accepting advertising — giving access to their data. In turn, they can “pay” for discounts or goods with it. The monetary value of those which will for sure surpass 5 USD a year by far.

The advertisers and retailers on the other hand use wys Tokens to buy access to a very selected target group, interested in their products, willing to listen and buy. Bingo. The wysker principle.

Internally we sometimes dub the whole process “selective”. The “selective” applies to both sides here. Nobody wastes much time unless mutual interest is sure. It’s much like dating: only if both really want, it becomes a happy relationship. Else it is a waste of time. In the end, all this amounts to one thing, and one thing only.: a fair share of profits for everybody.


1 Lanier, Jaron. Who Owns the Future? Penguin Books, 2014.