Web search providers started as an invaluable tool for navigating the internet. After Google emerged the victor of the first and subsequent generations of a one-sided yet fierce competition; they built an empire of free user services.
More notable developments since have included software such as 3D geographic and street level maps, email, a web browser. The Android platform is Google’s all-in-one operating system – interoperable across desktop, laptop and tablet computers; as well as mobile phones. In theory, one particular user might use Google products for almost all of their digital data service needs.
The depth and breadth of information gathered, controlled, and distributed by this corporation (as well as others, like Facebook) make them a formidable leader in the data market.
More importantly, they possess a monopoly over the monetization and control of personal / private and public data. It brings up a set of very reasonable questions which have long gone unanswered.
- Why is this data so valuable to them; but (apparently) not to you?
- How can the current system be changed to recompense the users for their data?
- Is this affecting the industry in any other ways?
The Hidden Value Systems of Personal Data
“You no longer own your own data” – This answers the first question, and summarizes what is wrong with centralization in all its forms; a transfer of ownership to a central dominant authority.
Advertising is the primary means by which these types of companies appear to earn their revenue: selling advertising space, with arbitrary values set on scales such as “pay per click”. The value proposition to these advertisers is the access to target segmentation and analytics tools, based on the company’s gargantuan volume of metadata – interpreted by predictive algorithms.
Unfortunately, the accuracy of these advertising methods has been widely disputed, even at an academic level and have proven to be detrimental to advertisers: with them paying for clicks that ultimately don’t lead to conversions (sales).
On the user side, adverts are arguably an undesirable result of the monopolization of data which we see in today’s centralized search engines. Their lack of popularity is exemplified by the existence of purpose built software and browser extensions for removing the unwanted presence; which in itself has affected progress in the market.
Most importantly, however, it doesn’t ask the question which you have all come here to see answered: how do I get paid for sharing my personal data on an opt-in basis, without fully sacrificing my privacy to unknown entities?
Bitclave: Rewarding Search with the Customer Activity Token (CAT)
Many have tried to usurp the search engine throne over time with many of those who tried and failed still existing in some form today (Jeeves, Yahoo). Some have attempted to maintain active competition with the current king, such as Bing (formerly MSN search).
Others, however, have taken a different approach. Instead of making money out of advertisers based on a potential number of clicks or audience reach; Bitclave and their ‘Active Search Ecosystem’ offers a highly twist on the concept of the search engine and its related data economies.
This is accomplished through an objective search engine where advertisers are encouraged to establish direct links with their potential customers (search engine users). By presenting offers of direct compensation in return for access to otherwise private, personal data; Bitclave creates a situation where the ownership and value of data is restored to its owners rather than shady or non-transparent corporations.
Authentication and storage of data is anonymised through use of a decentralized blockchain; with payment and agreements between users and advertisers being administered by smart contract.
Bitclave’s Alpha is live now, and you can find out much more information about the project on their website or by reading their whitepaper. Keep up to date with the latest trade prices and market cap information via Coinmarketcap.