Online ads seem like a necessary evil in order to keep the Internet free.
One innovative solution, however, aims to at least help users take back control of their data and how it’s used by online advertisers while still giving online advertisers the chance to make money using Big Data.
Online advertisers are extremely interested in what users do on the web: which sites they visit, what they buy, how long they spend their time online…
That’s why they often partner with companies like Facebook and Google that have the infrastructure to collect and analyze such data acquired from their massive user bases. These sites have such massive user bases partially because they offer their services for free, and they are able to do so because they are supported by ads. The result is online advertisers being able to make the most of Big Data for marketing purposes in the form of targeted ads, and on some of the most popular sites on the web.
New Age Telemarketers
The problem with targeted ads, pop-ups, and ad bots is that people hate them. They have become what telemarketers were in the 90’s: a high-pressure sales technique with the potential to encourage fraud and scams.
The phone may not be ringing off the proverbial hook, but users are still feeling violated: these ads follow you, they track you, they stalk you, and they use your own personal information in the form of Big Data to target and effectively harass you.
Threatening a Business Model
Most users are willing put up with online ads because it translates into using certain sites for free, but more and more often, “putting up” with pop-ups really means blocking them. The New York Times, wrote earlier this year that as many as 200 million people worldwide are using ad-blockers– a number that has the potential to seriously affect not only how effective online advertising is, but how lucrative it will continue to be.
How You Can Fight Back (and Earn Money, too!)
CitizenMe has developed an easy-to-use app that is doing just that. The company is empowering internet users to control and even monetize their own data by helping collect and pull their data from social media. Once users have their data profile, the users themselves can choose to sell it to online advertisers for a small fee.
In recent years, “Big Data” has been a big business buzzword. It’s been something abstract, like tiny bread crumbs that users leave behind when they access some websites, and that some websites pick up to help access users.
To keep accessing our favorite sites for free, some degree of new age telemarketing in the form of targeted ads will be necessary.
But now, thanks to initiatives like CitizenMe, users can have some control over how their data is used, and even use their own data to at least make a little money from online ads.