I saw a curiously mis-titled article from Julie Meyer called ‘Why the IT sector is vital for small firms’
The article is actually about privacy, digital footprint etc and it says:
If they (Google) don’t cut the individual into receiving a piece of the value of their personal information, as it is used in search and purchase transactions, someone will, and that new party will rise to dominance.
Recently, there have been many such discussions mainly targeting Google, Facebook and other players ..
I have a differing view on this .. Let me explain ..
Suppose you are walking down the street. A stranger takes a picture (not YOUR picture – but a picture of the surroundings). While you are not the focus of the picture, you are ‘in it’ because you were walking.
Now, she enters the picture in a competition. She wins a 1000$.
But, would you ask for your share?
Note that the picture is not about you, you just happen to be in it.
In the words of the privacy advocates, your ‘personal data’ in this case, image, has been used by someone else for (shock, horror!) commercial gain!
They proclaim: ‘Give us our share! You did not ask our permission. WE own the data. And YOU profit from it’!
This is of course silly .. But exactly the same case is being made here
There is also another aspect to this.
People WANT to contribute to the web because they want to be found. Maybe someone sees your picture in the photo and if you are attractive enough, makes you a modeling offer!
In other words, people who contribute content are discoverable and there are benefits to the person (often commercial) to being discovered.
But what if you DON’T want to be found?
Do what Rupert Murdoch does .. Password protect your content
If it works for Rupert, it will work for others?
But will it work for Rupert(let alone for you!) (PS: Note that According to his biographer Michael Wolff, Murdoch has not used the internet, let alone Google (he only recently discovered email)
I think not ..
Here is why ..
There is a saying from Ralph Waldo Emerson that: If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door ..
But do you really believe that in the Internet world, others will beat a path to your door?
Much as I like the work of the Sage of Concord/Ralph Waldo Emerson , this wisdom does not apply to the Internet age ..
Many people who may try to assign a value to their personal information may subscribe to this fallacious view i.e. somehow that their content is valuable and that if only it were ‘gated’ we could monetize that value (directly or indirectly)
In my view, the options are password protect (which is a valid choice) OR treat it like a random photographer in a tourist destination. Hope that someone sees you in that picture and makes you a modeling offer
But you can’t have it both ways! i.e. publish your content/data and then ask for a share of profits!