Who's big data are you?
Mon 18 Jun 2018
By John Nayler
Have you recognised that the world's digital consumers ("us") have come to expect that the most frequently used websites and apps should be free? Of course, you immediately recognise that I am talking about Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Spotify and a couple more.
The question for the thinking person should be: "How can they do this for free?"
Advertising is the answer almost always. Online advertising is now the way that the MAJORITY of "big tech" businesses generate revenue and on a GLOBAL SCALE and that is a TRUCKLOAD of money. From this truckload, Google gets more than 50% of it, and Facebook get a large chunk of the rest.
Given that eCentral and Google are 19 years old, I could be disappointed at how things have worked out, but the reality is that I did not kick off in a Silicon Valley garage at the right time. Granted garage businesses evolve into massive success often, you have to make sure it's the right garage and have perfect timing! On market timing, I recommend "Outliers" (Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers. Penguin, 2009), oh and being second (Yahoo.com) :-)
Anyhow, the key thing to know here is that the big websites and apps we are constantly using are gathering bits of information and learning about us. For instance, I know that Facebook displays ads at me with offers of entrepreneurial seminars and dating. So does Google. They both know that I have a thirst for business success and ... In that order.
Another example is Spotify's ability to accurately predict music that you might like to listen too and rolls in ads that seem relevant somehow.
Thankfully, it's anonymous and the advertisers don't get to know our names and contact details, but it's very real and very powerful... and we must be ok with it - there are literally billions of us in their hard-wired clutches.
Should you delete all your profiles and live under a bridge? That is one option.
Alternatively, know this truth:
IF YOU ARE USING A WEBSITE OR APP FOR FREE THEN YOU ARE THE PRODUCT.
Your behaviours and data = advertising opportunity.
Welcome to reality