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Web 2012: YOU are the product

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Human For SaleJust in case you haven’t figured it out yet, when a shiny online experience is free to use, you are the product.

Everything you do and say, everything you share, in fact everything of everything that happens through that experience becomes the property of the people who provide the shiny online experience.

And the way those people get paid is by using or selling the information you provide. You may think that the social network or search engine you love is a great free thing, but in using it you may have to agree to become the product that’s actually for sale.

Of course, this doesn’t make shiny online experiences bad. It’s the only economical way for many to exist. But it does mean you need to take a few minutes to understand what information you have agreed to hand over and how you (the product) are being used and sold.

If you rely on those same shiny online experiences for your own marketing efforts, you also need to satisfy yourself that you’re happy for data about your customers and business partners to be sold the same way.

As the wise person once remarked, “you don’t get nothing for nothing” in this world.