The future of Data Privacy, or: The Business Model that Could Kill Online Advertising
There’s a popular saying in Silicon Valley: If you can use a product for free, then you’re probably the product. Nowhere is this more truly illustrated than by the business models of Google and Facebook, two of the most valuable companies in the world and two of the most powerful vehicles for consumption in human history.
Google and Facebook scaled at unimaginable speed by offering their web services to users for free. As their user bases exploded, they monetized their platforms by building the most sophisticated ad targeting capabilities ever created – all on the back of data supplied willingly (so they claim) by their users. This brings us to the present day: the two companies combine to account for over 50% of digital advertising spend in the United States, to the tune of roughly $60 billion.