The Oil of The Internet



“Personal Data is the new oil of the Internet and the new currency of the
digital world.” Meglena Kuneva, Consumer Commissioner, March 2009.

There is no denying the value of the personal data.

It can be used for understanding market trends, developing effective business models, or for target marketing. As much as
marketers would like to have this data, consumers are weary and scared about sharing their
personal data as there is a fear of it being misused. In addition to consumers voluntarily sharing
this information, companies have the ability to monitor and collect user actions over the
internet, and can either use it for their own purposes or share/sell it to other marketers.


Companies have benefited greatly from their ability to collect personal data and use it
effectively to build revenue-generating business models that are based on personalized services
and target marketing. In an effort to offer a personalized experience the companies have taken
it a bit far, causing unease among their users.

Internet consumers’ fear of their data being misused or their identities being compromised has
prompted government intervention on a global level to create privacy laws. So, what would be the
best way to strike a balance between innovative business models based on personal data collection and
privacy concerns? It must not be forgotten that consumers benefit from these business models

An ideal environment for data sharing may include but would not be limited to the following

-Data collection process is transparent
-Provides all required tools for the user to control the data
-Secure data storage
-Marketer access to personal information limited by not having the ability to copy or store data, and maintaining the anonymity of users

Consumers benefit in such an environment, as they maintain their privacy, but still get personalized content and interaction.

Marketers have the advantage of access to consumer information, can boast a personalized experience, get to know their audience, and save effort and costs by not throwing darts in the dark.


Do you trust that companies are using your data appropriately and not selling it? What could be done better? Please share your thoughts in the comments area.


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