Financial News

  • 8 April 2014, 13:50

Should You Get Paid To Like A Facebook Post?

Should you get paid to like a Facebook post? Or to Instagram your lunch?

Data Republic, a Dutch start-up which went live on Monday, thinks you should.

Mark Vreijling, one of the company's co-founders, is upset at "the general notion that companies are building data profiles that are out of control for the people involved," he told Sky News.

"We would like to turn this around by putting the people back in charge of their personal data.

"We feel that currently people in general do not take their personal data seriously.

"They should be aware that to the corporate world their data is a valuable asset and they should treat it accordingly."

Mr Vreijling says Data Republic will act as a "data broker".

If enough users sign up, Data Republic will contact businesses to see what information they're interested in - and at what price.

The start-up will then take that offer back to the user, who can choose to accept it or pass.

So if you sign up, you'll receive an update along the lines of: "McDonald's will pay you 1 to know your top five London restaurants - is this ok?"

Unlike on Facebook or Google - users get paid for their data.

What's the benefit for companies? Well, according to Mr Vreijling, the data that businesses currently gather is messy, and not necessarily free. Often they have to pay companies like Experian.

Data Republic says it lets them solve this, by going to direct to the data source.

Other firms have tried and failed to build personal data marketplaces; start-ups like MyCube and Allow have fallen by the wayside.

Some firms are going for a slightly different spin, like MyDex - a community interest company that has been around since 2007.

It works as a personal, online data store for things like your driving license, council tax or mobile phone history: the essentials of your civic identity, rather than social media preferences.

This year it hopes to get up and running in Scotland.

According to MyDex: "Scottish citizens can benefit from controlling their personal data, from privacy by design, from being able to use a portable digital identity across all of their needs."

MyDex wants to be the one-stop identification service for a host of online government services.

Over recent years, we've lost more and more control over our private data, whether that's to corporations or government surveillance programmes.

Both MyDex and Data Republic are attempting to fix the same problem, in different ways.

The question is this: Do users really care?