We talk pretty regularly about the intertwined data economy, and more loudly about how we simply and plainly do not understand how data creates value in the digital economy today. Not really. The more we dig, the more it seems we have it somewhat figured out in an advertising model (or Facebook and Google do, anyways), but the rest of it is a mess.
(I say somewhat figured out. Data points in digital advertising are still mostly worth just fractions of a penny, and CTRs are in the pits.)
An article in the FT
covering research done at Oxford University this week took a look at how data flows from the apps we use into the wider data economy. Their conclusion? There are only 9 major companies across the world at the top of the pyramid, and data from our most popular apps all flows to them. (see this week's comic)
That is the result so far of the busine world’s endless search for value in the interesting and difficult resource that is data.
Facebook and Google receive data from the greatest number of applications, shocker. Facebook can receive your information from 408,155 different applications, including Candy Crush, Spotify, and the Tinder family. Alphabet (Goog) can receive from a whopping 848,373 apps, including the above, plus PayPal and BBC Weather (nooooo BBC why). Other top level hoarders included Oracle, Appsflyer, and comScore.
"Users cannot easily control who their apps share data with, or the fact that only 'two or possibly three super-dominant companies...sit at the top of the data pyramid,' was, I thought a particularly choice quote
. 'There are no easily accessible settings or widgets to switch this off.'
Yours in HAT,