Should Google and other online sites share some of the gold with users?

Should Google and other online sites share some of the gold with users?

Summary: Can users sell their clicks and their surfing habits?

TOPICS: Google

I just read Dan Farber's Syndicate conference blog and his write-up of the compensation ideas that the "Steve Gillmor gang" are busily promoting.

 Here is Seth Goldstein, one of the Attention Trust gang, quoted by Dan:
 "People  have to feel they own equity in the entities that they are providing the data to, which are becoming valuable based on the [user] data," said Goldstein. "The valuation of Google or Yahoo is  based on value of user gestures, and it's getting to a point soon where publishers and consumers, in a social media context, will be fighting over the proceeds."

I just don't get it. Compensating users for spending time online? Compensate them with money or ownership? This smacks of the bubble days when such ideas were common.

I just don't see why users should demand a piece of the action for using a web service.

Bill Gates seems to be a convert, and he's a smart guy. So there must be something I am missing. Bill Gates wants to pay users to use his search box.

Well, we know how that one will play out. There will be entire villages in India converting over from clicking on Google text ads, to populating MSFT search boxes with search terms.

Isn't it wonderful, the distribution of wealth from rich nations to developing nations? It will lift millions out of poverty and make the world a better place.

I agree with Dan, when he writes:

"It's hard to imagine Google or other major sites granting users an explicit piece of the action, other than providing more convenience and relevance."

The compensation to users is provided by the value of the service. I use a lot of Google services, for example, and I get a lot more out of the arrangement than I think Google gets from me.

If Google, or any other online business,  can monetize my clicks and surfing and provide me with an excellent service, then I am all the richer for it. 

I don't need a check, or a stock option, or Uncle Sam getting involved. And I am free to be fickle and move on if someone offers a better service.

Topic: Google

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  • Bill Gates?

    Bill Gates and Microsoft are known to give away profitable
    technologies or even operate at a loss, not so much to help
    people although we may sometimes be temporary benefactors,
    but to force the competition to be unprofitable or less profitable
    with their primary source of income. An example would be
    Netscape and the free browsers. Now if Bill Gates were to start
    offering Windows or Office free then you would have something
    to worry about. Bill Gates is probably not off his rocker. He's just
    an incredibly good poker player who has turned the high tech
    world into his casino. You can make a lot of money in his casino
    but if you make too much he will make you leave.
  • Pay Users? - the best way to destroy their value...

    If you want users' clicks to be worth nothing, then start paying them to click.

    Right now, people click on what is valuable to them. This benefits both parties:

    1/ The user receives information, and

    2/ The website receives feedback on what is valuable to its users.

    If you paid people to click on links, or tag, or whatever, then you have changed their prime motivation from receiving value for their effort to receiving change for going through the motions.

    If you want to be compensated for your efforts on the web, you need to contribute something to your fellow users. Contributing something to those who are already doing so is not adding to the net worth of the web. If effort does not generate value, then it is worth nothing.

    If some websites decide to pay their users, I predict they will eventually abandon such efforts. The feedback they will get will be worse than useless - it will be misleading.

    There are always people out there looking to get something for nothing. Instead of creating valuable products or services and contributing the revenue to the poor, they stand in front of Target and harrass shoppers for change. It reminds me of the childrens story about the little chick (?) who did not want to help bake the pie, but wanted a piece when it was done.

    Instead of whining that someone else is not giving you a piece of their pie, bake your own! Contribute! Get a job! ;-)