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    New York Times: Web Start-Ups Offer Bargains for Users’ Data

    The New York Times has an interesting story about consumers’ data being gathered and used in exchange for services or products for the consumers.

    [M]any Web start-ups are pursuing a more reciprocal approach — saying, in essence: give us your data and get something in return.

    The budgeting Web site Mint.com, for example, displays discount offers from cable companies or banks to users who reveal their personal financial data, including bank and credit card information. The clothing retailer Bluefly could send offers for sunglasses to consumers who disclose that they just bought a swimsuit. […]

    These early efforts are predicated on a shift in the relationship between consumer and company. Influenced by consumers’ willingness to trade data online, the sites are pushing to see how much information people will turn over. […]

    While data on Mint is kept private — there is no way to share financial details with other users — WeShop has built a system that allows people to spread information about their shopping habits. After a consumer gives WeShop access to an e-mail account, the system scans e-mail headers to find electronic receipts, then extracts what someone bought and what price they paid.

    All that information is posted to the WeShop site as a kind of in-depth shopping history. A consumer can keep it private, or share some or all purchase data with other people in WeShop networks (using a nickname). […]

    WeShop will soon give retailers access to the data and allow them to send specific offers.

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