3 ways you can sell your own personal data

Personal data marketplaces are beginning to appear. Here's a look at three.

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It's not just the lowlifes and thieves making money from stolen data; you might be able to make a few bucks selling your own personal data, too.

Now, I'm not suggesting you place an ad for your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on Craigslist, but there are actually outlets that will let you, or plan to let you, sell some of your data. It's used for marketing.

Personal data marketplace

One such company is the U.S.-based Datacoup, which says it lets you connect your apps and services via APIs in order to sell data. Datacoup pitches itself as the world's first personal data marketplace.

See also: How much is your personal data worth?

The way it works, according to the company's website, is by connecting user accounts, such as debit and credit cards, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google+, YouTube, Tumblr, Meetup, and Instagram, with an account authorization API.

Datacoup says it then builds "a profile that provides an overview of your data for potential data purchasers."

For now, though, Datcoup purchases the data, but says that in the future the site will feature "brands, retailers, media agencies, wireless carriers, insurance companies, and banks."

Card numbers are encrypted, and that's not what's being sold anyway. It's the anonymized "patterns across different demographics and other data characteristics" that those who purchase the data can access.

And that's the case with all of these kinds of services. Transactions and transaction amounts, likes check-ins, activity streams, and so on, are pulled.

Pricing is based on fluctuating attributes like monthly spending.

Free personality profile

Another outfit is a UK-based company called CitizenMe. It intends to allow individuals to sell their personal data directly to businesses and advertisers, according to a Financial Times article.

The company will give subscribers a "free personality profile in return for their data," the newspaper says. Discounts and rewards from retailers and banks will also be in the package.

"If your data is the new commodity in a digital world, CitizenMe welcomes you into the marketplace," the company says on its website.

Social network backup

Another company mentioned in the FT article is Digi.me, which is planning a service to allow "businesses to approach individuals who want to share their data."

The company is in the data storage business—it backs up social media accounts for subscribers—so it's a logical progression to take that aggregated data and sell it.

"This will allow you to share your data with whomever you like, under your control, and make money out of it, as well as lots of other things," Julian Ranger, chairman and founder of Digi.me, told the Financial Times.

And how rich will I get?

Well, clearly, if you look at the couple-dollar numbers in the screenshots on the Datacoup website, and consider the monetary value of a free personality profile—without wanting to belittle the healthcare industry—you aren't going to get rich here.

But you'll at least know that it isn't just the con artists who are benefiting from your data the next time your bank card is hacked. You can capitalize too.

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