The value is in the User’s Big Data
– Felix Filloux (2012)
Without monthly subscription fees for content, many online companies are relying on advertising; but maybe it’s time to look elsewhere. Thus far, advertising has yet to be the solution to online profit woes, and if new sources of income are not explored, the network population of quality information may dwindle.
So what about users’ information; their own profiles and contents? Could Big Data be a big money making solution?
Filloux defines Big Data as “data sets too large to be ingested and analyzed by conventional data base management tools”. The architecture of the internet enables us to see which users are visiting which sites, so is there a way to analyze this data to anticipate a user’s needs? Can we analyze online activity and target advertisements accordingly? Yes we can, and some sites, like Facebook, are already getting the ball rolling. With further innovation, software will be capable of sorting through big data sets and identifying patterns.
The real question is, how will online sites justify the trading of a user’s privacy for what they feel is a ‘great’ customized service? Filloux also makes a point of mentioning that balance is needed – if I log onto the New York Times to see a completely customized version of the newspaper, which presents me stories on shark conservation, technology, Canadian politics, it may give me an eery feeling. It may become too personal, and I may navigate elsewhere.