FT.com has an interesting interactive page where you can estimate the value of your personal data, based on several demographic characteristics. The calculator accompanies a short piece that analyzes just how little individual data is worth in the open market.
As the piece notes:
The sheer ubiquity of details about hundreds of millions of consumers is responsible for driving down prices. Digital advertisers’ profiles of people already include specific information, such as whether a person purchases weight-loss supplements, has a net worth of more than $1m, and suffers from seasonal allergies. These details are fed into sophisticated algorithms that dictate what ads to serve up to consumers.
Interestingly, the one exception to the lower values is social media influence:
Klout, the social media monitoring firm, scores people based on their knowledge and discussion about certain topics and how other people respond. The company estimates that the value of a relatively high Klout score adds up to more than $3 in word-of-mouth marketing value. Some marketers have started offering special deals, such as access to American Airline’s Admirals Club lounges, to people with high scores in hopes of generating positive buzz.
It’s fascinating that in today’s economy personal data value only goes up if someone is “networked.” Indeed, it would be interesting to compare the Klout score of a millionaire executive with zero social media impact and a middle-class academic with a thousand former students following him on twitter. How much more value does the ability to influence other consumers drive, even if you yourself have zero buying capacity? It’s an interesting question for economists, a problem of “demand influencing” perhaps?
You can read the post and calculate your own score here: