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Each time you swipe your credit card or click on social media platforms, your personal data is collected and eventually sold to advertisers and corporations without your knowledge, but one company aims to give you more control over that information and even pay you for it.
"All that data is being monetized on its own right now, and we're trying to give [users] a forum to aggregate all that data and monetize it, " Datacoup CEO Matt Hogen told CNBC on Thursday.
Unlike traditional data brokers such as Datalogix, Datacoup enables users to broker deals with parties interested in their information. Users create a Datacoup profile and link it to their social media accounts, like Facebook and Instagram, and financial accounts,including credit and debit cards. Once connected, Datacoup creates an overview of a user's data for potential data purchasers. A price is set based on how many attributes, or data points, a user's profile has.
The New York City-based start-up hopes to appeal to users who understand that their digital footprint is already being tracked and sold.
"If people begin to understand what their data is worth by using a service like Datacoup, Google's revenue model [could] collapse", Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group, told CNBC. However this depends on whether Datacoup is "funded and executed well," he said.
The "personal data marketplace" start-up is in the beta trial stage and hasn't sold any data yet. However, it has "spoken to about 30-40 data purchasers and potential partners across several industries," including banks, ad-tech companies, insurance companies and consumer electronic companies, Hogen said.
The problem with data providers is often the "stale and inaccurate" data, he said, whereas Datacoup is able to sell aggregated insights on populations and demographic segments for advertisers or consumer companies to understand market trend. Datacoup is also able to capture "layered information" that connects online activity with spending records.
According to a Pew Research Center report released in 2013, 86 percent of Internet users have taken steps to remove or mask their digital footprints. Fifty-nine percent of Internet users do not believe it is possible to be completely anonymous online.
The backlash of privacy concerns has led to promising start-ups such as Ello, an "ad-free" social networking site that promises not sell users' information to third parties.
With all the controversy surrounding most data mining companies, Datacoup might just be the bridge to make data mining consensual.
CORRECTION: This version deleted an incorrect description of Gigya as a data broker.