Companies have been using consumer data for years, but with the advent of the web, more and more consumers are increasingly paying attention. And asking, who controls your data?
“People are getting more savvy about the fact that there is value associated with their data,” said Laura Simpson, Global IQ director for McCann Worldgroup. Ms. Simpson believes there’s an opportunity for marketers that offer deals and discounts in return for personal information and are transparent about the exchange — notifying consumers that they’ll receive a customized newsletter near their birthday if they provide their birth month, for example.
It’s in that context that personal “data lockers,” or online information repositories designed to be the digital equivalent of a bank with security infrastructure in place, are forecasting a marketplace where consumers have considerably more leverage.
Personal is a startup in open beta aiming to recast the consumer-marketer relationship altogether. With $7.6 million in funding and 42 employees, the site works by allowing users to enter their personal information in structured-data fields within individual “gems” — or buckets of data in categories ranging from banking particulars to liquor-cabinet contents to babysitter instructions. They can share gems with selected individuals, and it’s also intended to be a tool to auto-populate forms.
Personal plans to launch an anonymous marketplace early next year, where marketers will be able to target users based on their personal information. It envisions a scenario in which consumers are compensated for buying products or viewing ads for products that are likely to be relevant to them.