March 20th, 2012
How Much Is Your Data Worth? Mmm, Somewhere Between Half a Cent and $1,200
By Alexis Madrigal
How confused are our notions of user data? Well, let’s look at how much it might be worth. There are several different ways we could try to ascertain the fair value of your data.
For buyers, user data is dirt cheap. User profiles—slices of our digital selves—are sold in large chunks, i .e. at least 10,000 in a batch. On the high end, they go for $0.005 per profile, according to advertising-industry sources.
But maybe that’s not the right way to value the data. After all, each profile of you being sold only takes advantage of some subset of your information. Facebook and Google make roughly $5 and $20 per user, respectively. Without your data in one form or another, their advertising would be mostly worthless, so perhaps your data is worth something in that range.