Technology Trends #4 - Data is the New Oil

Technology Trends #4 - Data is the New Oil

The fourth post in the series on Technology Trends explores the growing value of personal data and how services to catalog and trade it will emerge.


  1. Aggregated personal information is already a valuable commodity both officially (marketing lists and profile data) and on the black market (credit card and personal identity information)

  2. As sites develop single sign-in and social media connectors, personal profile data will be able to cross organizational boundaries

  3. Services that collect, collate and make sense of personal data will emerge and begin to create a market for this aggregated analyzed data - Personal Informatics is the new category of applications that include Mint, TripIt and Dopplr

  4. Social graph information will also be co-opted into the mix of personal data - a person's position in the connected graph is also valuable information

  5. Online activities (e.g. booking travel) will be informed by personal profile data, where explicit declarations of preference (in frequent flyer profiles) are superseded by published shared profiles (from other travel sites like or credit card companies), purchased profiles (e.g. from marketing data intermediaries or even Facebook) or derived profiles (e.g. where user's previous comments on Tripadvisor are text mined)

  6. Brokerages may develop where individuals can offer their data, brand and retailers will subscribe to this data and perhaps will pay a fee for doing so

  7. Marketing intermediaries, retailers and brands will subscribe to individuals to receive an upto date feed of volunteered personal information, in return consumers will expect preferential treatment and freedom from unsolicited marketing noise

Worth Reading


Selling Personal Data - links to stories by Gam Dias on RealTea.net (Oct 2007)
Should Customers Control Their Own Information? by Christopher Carfi on The Social Customer (Oct 2009)
Data-driven advertising - How do we move it beyond the web? by S.Swaminathan on CustomerWorld (Oct 2009)
POWER.COM Serves FACEBOOK a PR HEADACHE, Thrusts DATA PORTABILITY into LEGAL Spotlight by Steve Repetti on the DataPortability Blog (Jul 2009)
The power of Personal Informatics by Eilidh Dickson in the Johnny Holland Magazine (Apr 2009)
Mass Marketing is Dead. Make Way For Personal Marketing by Robert "Dude" Spellings, Jr. on The Direct Marketing Voice (Mar 2009)
What's It Worth to You?
Advertisers might pay for the journalism—if consumers are willing to open up
by Michael Miner at the Chicago Reader (Mar 2009)
Facebook Plans to Make Money by Selling Your Databy Lidija Davis of ReadWriteWeb (Feb 2009)
The New Examined Life
Why more people are spilling the statistics of their lives on the Web
by By Jamin Brophy-Warren on WSJ.com (Dec 2008)
Polite, Pertinent, and... Pretty: Designing for the New-wave of Personal Informatics by Matt Jones of Dopplr (Apr 2008)

Previous post: Trend #3 - The Data Explosion
Next post: Trend #5 - Democracy Moves Online

Gam Dias is VP of Product Management and Research at Overtone Inc. and was previously Director of Product Management at Hyperion Solutions and Brio Software. Co-Authors of this article are: Simon Handley, Tim Mueller Eric Scott and Kryztof Urban