Startups Are Paying Consumers for Permission to Track Data

Instead of tracking consumers’ personal data without their consent, a few companies are beginning to experiement with a new model of paying people directly for permission to track activity on their social media accounts and their credit cards. Datacoup, for example, pays consumers $8 a month for access to their personal data. For $100 a month, participants in ZQ Intelligence’s program agree to be tracked on their devices and answer questions about their consumer behavior.

connectionsStartups such as Datacoup, ZQ Intelligence and Ridley.io pay consumers for a more nuanced portait of their spending habits. Then they can sell that detailed data to other companies looking to advertise to a specific group of people.

“Ford or Chevrolet, for example, will pay a premium to buy ads that will be placed in front of users who are about to buy a car,” explains Quartz.

Despite the Federal Trade Commission’s report detailing the extent of non-consensual data tracking, some people do not really mind. Almost a third of respondents would share their data if they received some sort of compensation, according to a survey of 1,100 smartphone users.

The Federal Trade Commission’s report did urge Congress to enact new legislation that would make the data-gathering process more transparent. Until then, consumers know virtually nothing about what information is being collected and how its being used by data brokers. These startups offer consumers the chance to at least get some compensation for sharing their data.