I have news for you people: your data ain’t worth nuthin’:
I was ready to call it quits—unless, that is, my proceeds reeled me back in. I tallied up my fiat (that’s money, to the rest of us): 162 WIB, 1 DAT, 0 NRN. My earnings, while eclectic, were worth approximately 0.3 cents.
That is from a recent Wired article by Gregory Barber, who tried to sell his data in the open market. Yet data can be worth a good deal in the aggregate — just ask some of the major tech companies. The economics here are a bit like the economics of voting. If it were legal, and you tried to sell your vote and your vote alone, you might not get much more than 0.3 cents. That vote is unlikely to prove decisive. Yet average and marginal value do not coincide. If someone could buy a whole block of votes, which in turn could swing an election, the price could be much higher.
The upshot is that giving individuals ownership of their data, so they can sell it, is unlikely to yield much, unless of course you think widespread consumer collusion will prove feasible.
For the pointer I thank the excellent Samir Varma.