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A Startup Where You Sell Your Own Data

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    HANNOVER, GERMANY - MARCH 03: A German Google Street View car stands on display at the CeBIT Technology Fair on March 3, 2010 in Hannover, Germany. Google's Street View project has raised controversy from people across Europe worried about infringement of their privacy. CeBIT will be open to the public from March 2 through March 6. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

    Facebook and other members of the social media do make money from selling user information to third parties. Facebook even goes to intricate methods to ensure privacy, but it sells it just the same to advertisers and other marketers. In fact, Facebook is kind of one big marketing experiment.

    But now a startup called Handshake wants to let users sell their own information and avoid social networks taking their cut. Essentially, users can earn "between £1,000 and £5,000 per year for selling their data via the platform" (Handshake is based in the United Kingdom), according to TechCrunch. The number is a little suspect because it's based on the "traditional cost of market research agencies," which may or may not be the going rate for any particular user in various demographics. 

    Sometimes there may not even be cash involved but discounts and other types of rewards. Still, it's better than getting nothing for someone selling your information.

    Handshake still has to garner thousands of users to make its business take off, but the startup said it had several clients ready to sign as soon as it has a functioning community of users. To attract users, Handshake is even offering the first 3,000 signed an equity share of its business and will hold lotteries for a 2 percent equity stake if a user makes referrals. 

    “There has been increasing unrest from consumers as to how their data is being used by businesses and huge corporations," Handshake said in a statement. "Handshake brings transparency and control for both parties by turning online data theft into a transaction."
    We all know that Facebook and Google harvest user data, so perhaps there will be a number of users who want to at least be paid for their information.