As marketers, one of the most exciting elements of all that data proliferating on the Internet is the potential to conduct highly targeted personalized marketing.
As consumers, this is one of the aspects of the Internet that most of us fear. Who wants someone out there knowing exactly how many minutes you spent trawling around Bluefly looking at duvet covers? Who wants someone who knows your size and color preferences, your toothpaste brand, and how often you print out a Sudoku puzzle? Who wants someone knowing which bills you pay online and how often you Google the name of your junior high boyfriend?
Frankly, if I think about all that information on me that's floating around in hyperspace, I get really creeped out.
And, frankly, that's my personal data we're talking about. Mine, all mine.
To the rescue, according to a March 10th article I saw in The Economist, are companies that will enable individual consumers to aggregate their own data, deposit it in an online vault, and let marketers pay to see it.
AttentionTrust "is a not-for-profit organization that puts the user in control of their Attention data." Attention data is not a term I'm familiar with, but apparently it's floating around there and it is all the data compiled on what you look at on the Internet. (So, right now someone out there has captured the information that I just googled on "attention data.") AttentionTrust's premise is that you own your attention data, it has value, and you should have the right to decide who you want to share that data with. They offer a recorder that let's you capture your own trail of breadcrumbs, which you can then decide to make available to other AttentionTrust members. Sounds reasonable, but I didn't get in deeply enough to figure out if and how they prevent non-trusted entities from grabbing your attention data.
The article also mentions a company called GestureBank, but GB has apparently been swept in with AttentionTrust and are no more.
Agloco has a great tagline: Own the Internet, and describe themselves as "a global community that is owned by its members." It's hard to argue with their position:
Do You Realize How Valuable You Are?
Advertisers, search providers, and online retailers are paying billions to reach you while you surf. How much of that money are you getting?
You Deserve A Piece of the Action
AGLOCO gets paid by companies to reach our Members through our Viewbar™ software.We give that money back to you.
What's the Catch?
No catch. Sign up, refer your friends, download the free Viewbar™ software and surf the Internet as you normally would.
Your information will never be sold, rented,or shared with anyone else. Bulletproof privacy is a core commitment of AGLOCO.
Certainly, consumer marketers should be looking at AttentionTrust and Agloco (and, I'm sure, the others out there doing variations on a theme here). And consumers concerned with all those Big Brother marketing maws capturing every keystroke should be paying attention to just who's paying attention to their attention data.
But one of the nice things about moving on through the demographic cohorts is knowing that a lot of marketers are just not interested in marketing to those of us teetering on the verge of consumer geezerhood.
So I am under no illusions whatsoever that there will be a bidding war for my personal data. Oh, I know that, as a Baby Boomer, however past my consuming prime, there are plenty of marketing organizations who might want to get a piece of my action: retirement communities, financial services, travel, drug companies, the Scooter Store, funeral parlors....I will know them when I see them.
I will definitely be on the lookout for their overtures, and will definitely be figuring out just what I might be worth to them.
Let them pay to play.