Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Cash value of information: $100 billion

Should one be in doubt as to the value of critical accounts of privacy, one only need consider the scale of informational industries. The New Scientist has an interesting snippet here pointing out that in 2012 Facebook is expected to launch on the stock market with an initial public offering (IPO) valuing the social network at $100 billion. As with oil, gas, metals, diamonds or any other industry that relies on a standing reserve or resource to be mined, we might want to pay careful attention to these practices, particularly as in the case of information it is our information that is being mined. To de-abstract “information”, and not to mention demographic signifiers and movements across the web, it is our life events, aspirations, motivations, friendships, insights, feelings and moods that are being mined. Although this information only becomes valuable in relation to other bits of information, this should not detract from the premise of what comprises fuel for the informational industries.

1 comment:

Doug Laney said...

Just to be clear, property laws generally bestow ownership of information upon those that have it. That is, information about you collected by another entity isn't "your information." This holds true for information retailers, advertisers, and even hospitals collect about you. Courts in the US at least have upheld this notion. You are correct however that information increasingly has a discernible value. I work with organisations to help them quantify the value of their information assets (off balance sheet of course, since GAAP doesn't yet provision for information value). -Doug Laney, VP Research, Gartner

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I am director of the Media and Persuasive Communication (MPC) network at Bangor University where I also lecture on political-economy of the media. I am currently working on a book provisionally titled Deconstructing Privacy for Peter Lang and leading two empirical projects in connection with privacy perception and the use of new media for smoking cessation. I am author of Creativity and Advertising: Affect, Events and Process (Routledge, 2013); The Mood of Information: A Critique of Behavioural Advertising (Continuum, 2011); and Digital Advertising (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2009). Please contact me at if you are interested in Ph.D supervision or consultancy services.