Commentary on mobile communications trends in monetization models at the edge of the network.

There is a paradox in play currently with advertisers and the large cloud providers and social networks making billions from online advertising. What some call the “API economy” or “App economy” is really a euphemism for the long-held belief by these companies business models that your data that they “allow you for free” to use “their platform services” is something they are entitled to sell on as some kind of fustian bargain.

The problem is when this becomes “obvious” to the user that this is happening behind their back, without any real control of the owner originator of that data, you and me. The recent Facebook move to “allow” users to control third-party access to their data is a “mirage of false privacy” as Facebook still have all your data themselves the sell on themselves as huge profit. Amazon just about gets away with it with the annoying adverts that follow you around web pages after you have visited an amazon store. YouTube Premium allows you to pay a monthly subscription to make YouTube adverts that interrupt your viewing every 10 minutes “go away” but nothing has changed behind the scenes.

Apps offering privacy like WhatsApp and Snapchat violate that phycological trust with users if they see personalized adverts. There are many personal data stores PDS apps out there but most all fail to connect with markets of the big clouds of search and social networks because it's destroying their lucrative advertising model, why should they commit commercial suicide? At the moment without government regulation this stalemate will not be resolved I fear (to force large cloud and social platforms to stop harvesting personal private data which in effect will break them up and end their monopoly). What has yet to transpire and even Facebook will not do this, is for apps that offer privacy to also create new privacy services that put control and some monetization back to the original users. With the internet of things and 5G just around the corner, there is a huge untapped market waiting that until we kill off this old digital platform guard of the big platforms may struggle to grow quickly beyond branded walled gardens of kitchen appliances and TVs and “smart” light bulbs. Oh, brave new world …

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