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The RoBlog
Saturday, October 02, 2004
Another quickie.

A friend of mine has proposed allowing web surfers to get paid for ads they see. An idea that was wide spread a few years ago, but is actually possible both technically, and from the point of view of a financial model today (I can provide more details if anyone is interested).

I was thinking about the fact that certain institutions would love to have some aggregate information about you and the various populations that you belong to, but that you probably can't trust these organizations directly. It occurred to me that if an organization could be constructed that was trusted by the population at large, you could release information about yourself (this information would preferably be auto-collected and updated, potentially by a different system I have in mind) in a way that was scrubbed for any personally identifiable information.

Then, when other organizations want particular profiles of a population, they could pay the trusted entity for this information, and the trusted entity might (depending on the type of use that was being made of your information - e.g. for university medical research vs. for refining marketing models) pay you a small amount when your information is used.

This would allow, for example, a good idea of how many people who were very obese (as calculated by some component of height and weight, and maybe bodyfat) with Adult Onset Diabetes that live in a particular zipcode, or how many single women between 21 and 40 recently purchased a DVD player on the East Coast.
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