Commentary

Monetizing Data, Attention In A Hyper-Connected World

How distracted are you right now?

Distraction is one of the most difficult things to overcome during the course of your work day.  As I write this article, I have in front of me three different screens with three different browsers, plus instant messaging applications, my inbox and a few other windows open.  

The TV is on in the other room, while my kids are playing music on the Sonos speakers and I have a to-do list sitting next to me on my desk, reminding me of the litany of things I have to get done on this aptly named Labor Day.

 Oh, and my phone is sitting on the desk as well, impolitely buzzing with messages and alerts in an attempt to get me to pick it up as well.  

If I had to hazard a guess, I’d assume each of you have some combination of this exact situation laid out in front of you as you attempt to read this article.

Our time is valuable, and everyone else is quite adept at monetizing it, but what about you?  What is your time worth?  What is your attention worth?  Why do we operate in an environment where you are so readily willing to allow others to monetize your time and attention and distract you from where you are at the very moment?

FOMO is certainly part of it (the fear of missing out).  On the flip side of things, news spreads quickly, so you really never do miss anything.  What’s more, the volume of news about tragic events serves to numb us to most of it. FOMO may be a thing, but the constant deluge of information also creates FONO, or the fear of numbing out.

As the use of data continues to consolidate, I believe we have entered the beginning of the period when consumers will start to determine more clearly who can use their data, when and how.  If Google and Facebook allow this kind of control through their platform in a clearer fashion, and if they even agree to allow some element of consumer monetization control, I think this will become commonplace.  

For example, what if Google simply said you can have a special new service for free in exchange for the ability to monetize your data?  It wouldn’t be much different than it currently is, with Google already giving away a ton of service for free, but that implicit acceptance of a fair value exchange with the consumer would effectively create a contract and consumers would be more visibly in control of their data.

What about your attention?  Is it possible we’ll soon see consumers “sell” their attention, and engage with brands and services only when there is a fair value exchange for doing so?  Is it possible for consumers to start turning off notifications and maintain a more focused world view in exchange for the ability to monetize their time?  I

Imagine a world where services on your iPhone would have to pay you for the honor of sending notifications to you, and those payments could help offset the cost of your phone each month.  I don’t think this seems so far-fetched. Do you?

Data and attention are two of your most valuable commodities in a hyper-connected world, so why are you giving them away for free every day to any company who wants them?  

2 comments about "Monetizing Data, Attention In A Hyper-Connected World".
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  1. Ignacio Linares from PaytimeApp Inc., September 7, 2018 at 4:20 a.m.

    Spot-on, Cory.The time when attention and data become currency has already started.
    Time of attention and data are in fact assets. They are valuable. Each of us is the unique owner of those assets. Technology (ad-block, VPN) enables us to prevent anyone from taking them without our consent. Legislation (EU GDPR, US Consent ACT) empowers us to enforce our control. And platforms like Paytime make it seamless to pay for things you want, like your Netflix subscription, with attention and data, instead of money.
    This new model delivers unprecedented value to the marketer as well. Imagine what is like to move away from 2"@50% of the pixels, to someone (not a bot, a real human being) paying attention to the full length of your ad. Time for change!

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, September 7, 2018 at 2:35 p.m.

    True, Corey. 1st things first. We have to decide how much are we worth when we sell ourselves , when "they" sell us. It's not as easy as it sounds.

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