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Online Company Shows Internet Users How To Get Paid For Their Personal Info

(The reputation.com web site)

(The reputation.com web site)

Ian Bush Ian Bush
Ian Bush is an anchor, reporter, news editor, and technology editor&nb...
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By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Nothing in life is free.  That’s even true when it comes to the Internet, where companies offer e-mail and social networking at no out-of-pocket cost to you, but more than make up for it by selling your personal data to marketers.

But now there’s a move afoot to turn the tables.

“We want to give you control of what data you share and with whom for explicit value received,” says Michael Fertik, CEO of Reputation.com.

Fertik says that’s the opposite of the way the economics of the web work now, with Google, Facebook, and other web sites raking in cash when they sell targeted ads and other services based on what they know — or think they know — about your online life.

“The details run from everything from your age to your certain preferences or behaviors — where you like to shop, what you like to buy — but also to interesting conclusions, like, ‘You are probably upwardly mobile in your income stream,’ ” Fertik explains.

Those insights are valuable, Fertik says, and that’s what his site is planning this year to help users leverage.  He says retailers are willing to hand over discounts and even cash in exchange for you volunteering personal details about yourself and your household.

“Right now, all of us are data serfs,” Fertik tells KYW Newsradio, “and this is kind of the moment of data enlightenment when you can become your own data landlord.”

Hear the full interview in this CBS Philly podcast (runs 10:12)…

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