The Business of Data

The business of data

Many businesses earn a healthy revenue stream by selling customer data. Social media sites, for example, collect information on users of free accounts to sell to other businesses that pay a handsome reward for the treasure trove of demographic and other valuable data. With a healthy profit motivation in an increasingly data-driven world, should shippers expand their services to do the same?

Numerous opportunities exist for a shipper to collect data on its customers to sell to other organizations. Size, weight, value, and frequency of package delivery information in addition to a customer’s name, address, phone number, and email address are just a few examples of what a shipper can offer to data customers. Modern technology allows for a wide array of information to be collected and processed from a variety of sources, and combined into a single database for easy use. With the expansion of such data accumulation opportunities, some consumers have become wary of businesses seeking its acquisition out of privacy concerns.

Though privacy issues are a concern for many, some are willing to divulge certain types of information as a form of payment for a free or discounted service. Just as a social media site offers valuable communication links with others in exchange for access to personal information, a shipper could offer free insurance, tracking, and other bonuses for giving it permission to sell certain personal information to a non-mailing third party willing to pay for it.

While the risk/reward debate of allowing such access to information will likely continue for some time to come, the value of personal information is likely to grow as a marketable commodity.

What do you think about the business of exchanging personal customer information for free or discounted services?

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4 Comments

  1. grannybunny

     /  August 22, 2014

    I believe that USPS should absolutely not sell customer data.

  2. Jonn

     /  August 22, 2014

    I use a few free online accounts, but I don’t give them all of the information they want. Facebook is constantly asking where I went to school, where I live, etc, but I never give them the info. I thank them for the free account, but I’m not giving up every scrap of info about me for it.

  3. P.Clerk

     /  August 23, 2014

    I feel to give out personal customer data will open up a Pandora’s box. I also feel that would erode public trust.

  4. Jonn

     /  August 25, 2014

    I agree P.Clerk. If USPS avoids data mining and the competition doesn’t, that might give people yet another reason to choose the PO as their shipper.

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