Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
In a previous post "Data is the new Oil" I mentioned that social media platforms and profiles are a goldmine of data for an advertiser or a business undertaking research. Users input their preferences, likes and other habitual comments all of which is valuable data to an advertiser. This may even extend to a users location on platforms like Foursquare and Gowalla.
Obviously, this data has a value and will be exploited by the platforms that collect it (that is the basis on which they provide users with a "free" service) but this will stir emotions with the users who provide the data - think Facebook and privacy settings.
With the value of data apparent and on the edge of mass exploitation, the battle lines will be drawn to protect these assets.
These battles will be between the platforms that collect and commercialise data with others that look to exploit it without being part of their revenue model. There may also be civil wars between apps for platforms where data is being extracted at no cost via APIs.
Whether copyright or database right will be the WMD of choice in battle remains to be seen and a number of questions have been recently referred to the European Court of Justice to clarify the legal protection for databases. The case is: FOOTBALL DATACO LTD & 5 ORS v (1) YAHOO! UK LTD (2) STAN JAMES (ABINGDON) LTD (3) STAN JAMES PLC (4) ENETPULSE APS (2010)
I have speculated why people (including myself) provide all this valuable data to these platforms. My view is that they provide it so that we can create content, interact with content (think youtube, pictures of Flickr and Facebook) and utilise a free communication tool. For me, the quality of the content will determine the data that I provide - ie if 'Like' something it will have to be good!
Therefore, content and data can seen to be symbiotic and equally important. Good content will drive data and in return the revenue generated should increase investment in content.
So in summary I think it is fair to say that data (filtered and distilled) is the key to monetising web £2.0 and beyond but that useful data is only generated when people interact with, and generate content.
Traditional media (if there is such a thing anymore) still produces some of the best content in the web space and they are finding that traffic is driven through social media. These organisations look well placed to increase digital revenues by exploiting content and data together.