Online privacy is becoming increasingly important in the digital era; more people are concerned about how corporations are using their data. As it stands, service providers in the Web 2.0 ecosystem reap most of the benefits attributed to users’ data, either by selling it to third parties or using the information to improve their products and reach wider markets.
This trend has particularly gained traction within the digital advertising industry, to over $350 billion in revenues. Dating back to the early days of the internet, digital advertising has enabled businesses to enhance the nature of their products and services over the past two decades. But at what cost? Internet consumers face the full wrath of this evolution, having to surrender their online privacy to browse the most exciting web platforms.
Furthermore, the entrusted corporations have failed consumers time and again. According to a recent report by KPMG, 86% of internet users have major concerns about how corporations handle their data. Looking at past events in recent years, there may be a justification for this statistic. For example, Facebook has lost much of its credibility following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where an alleged 87 million users’ data was compromised.
With digital ad marketing growing even bigger, more consumers are at risk of being deprived of their online privacy. On the brighter side, however, regulators across the globe have started introducing data privacy laws. Some of which are forcing large corporations to adopt favorable online privacy measures to protect their consumers.
The Changing Dynamics of Online Privacy
While the internet has opened up an avenue for corporations to benefit from users’ data, it has also allowed stakeholders to realize this imbalance. Today, more internet users are aware of the social engineering tactics used by social media platforms and e-commerce service providers at the expense of their online privacy.
As a result, there is a notable shift in sentiment by both regulators and consumers. The former group has stepped in to introduce data privacy laws, with notable regulations such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation’ coming into effect in 2016. On the other hand, consumers are now opting for applications that do not track user data or give an option of sharing one’s personal browsing information.
This mounting pressure has also caused corporations to adjust, focusing on privacy-oriented ecosystems in their upcoming products and services. For instance, Apple recently introduced a pop-up feature that asks users whether applications can track their data. Google is following similar steps, although less aggressively; this leading search engine platform is in the process of disabling its tracking technology to feature an ad ecosystem that does not exploit users’ data.
That said, the current approaches to ensure consumers’ online privacy is not violated may not fully address the growing concerns. This brings us to the value proposition of decentralized ecosystems; ideally, these are blockchain-built platforms where users (brands and consumers) can interact directly through incentivized models that allow both parties to benefit from the underlying data equally.
Reclaiming Online Privacy Through Incentivized Ecosystems
Thanks to the inception of blockchain technology, many industries are being revolutionized, starting with finance to the art sector. This nascent technology is also changing the face of digital ad marketing by introducing decentralized marketing platforms. Essentially, this type of marketing platform eliminates corporations’ long-standing monopoly of data control while giving internet users their online privacy.
At the core, decentralized ecosystems feature incentive models, and users can share their data in return for network rewards or a percentage of the ad commission fees paid by brands. So far, there are several decentralized ad marketplaces, but a few stand out compared to the rest. One such platform is Profila, a Cardano-based digital marketing platform designed to give users online privacy and access to their preferred services or products.
Contrary to the approach taken by centralized marketing platforms, Profila’s decentralized ecosystem is consumer-driven. Users can create a profile on this decentralized application (DApp) based on their data and preferred product lines. Additionally, one can choose whether or not to share this information with brands that have paid ad fees on Profila. This way, the brands can target the right audience and receive valuable feedback.
More importantly, decentralized marketing places such as Profila help users retain their online privacy, not to mention that one is exposed to network rewards for sharing their personal information. For example, consumers on Profila can be paid up to 50% of the commission fees when a particular brand uses their data. This Cardano DApp is among the pacesetters to solve the online privacy debacle by encouraging ecosystems.
Given the rise of digital marketing, it is a no-brainer that internet users should be more conscious about their online privacy. This is the first step towards reclaiming one’s data while leveraging modern-day platforms.
With decentralized ecosystems now in the picture, consumers can further monetize their data or choose how and where to expose valuable information. This trend will likely set the pace for a more privacy-oriented digital marketing ecosystem, giving consumers more confidence and saving brands the huge marketing costs of purchasing user data.