After years of everyone else making money from your data, now you can sell your own. Caden Inc. wants to pay users for their personal data. Megan Graham reports for The Wall Street Journal:
A startup backed by an internet-search pioneer wants to give cash to users who share personal data including what they buy or watch on mobile apps.
The startup, Caden Inc., operates an app by the same name that helps users download their data from apps and services—whether that’s Amazon.com Inc. or Airbnb Inc. —into a personal “vault.” Users who consent to share that data for advertising purposes can earn a cut of the revenue that the app generates from it. They also can access personal analytics based on that data.
The idea of giving consumers a cut of whatever brands might pay to reach them isn’t new, but it has been reinvigorated as outside companies have found it harder to harvest and share so-called third-party data. The digital ad industry has been seeking new sources of the consumer data that guides online marketing efforts as traditional tracking techniques have come under pressure. A new Apple policy last year requires apps to ask permission to track users, for example, permission that many people have declined to give.
Caden, which has been testing with a limited group of users, plans to begin a public beta test of 10,000 users early next year. The company last month closed a $6 million round of funding led by seed-stage venture-capital firm Streamlined Ventures and including Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang through his venture firm AME Cloud Ventures.
“The team is uniquely focused on trying to solve one of the dilemmas of the internet: the exchange of consumer data for ‘free access’ to services, apps, and websites,” Mr. Yang said. Consumers have typically had little or no control over how their data is collected and who it is sold to, he said.
Caden will give consumers a range of choices about sharing their data, including how it is shared and for what purpose, it said.
One option in the public beta test will anonymize and pool the data before sharing it with outside parties in exchange for $5 to $20 a month, according to Caden founder and Chief Executive John Roa. The amount of compensation will be determined by a “data score” reflecting factors such as whether consumers answer demographic survey questions and which apps and services’ data consumers are sharing.
Consumers will eventually be given the option to share more specific information for more tailored advertising. A marketer could then form audience segments and tailor their ad targeting and messaging to those groups. For instance, a user could consent to sharing his ride-share history so advertisers could create segments of people who ride a certain amount. That would eventually pay consumers up to $50 a month, Caden said.
A third option would let advertisers take a direct action based on the data that Caden understands about a specific user. If a consumer were part of a department store’s loyalty program, for example, the store might reward her for sharing her individual Amazon shopping history and use it to provide more personalized offers.That could generate thousands of dollars a year for participating users, the company said.
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