Amazon offers 2 dollars in exchange for (very) personal data


In order to optimize their products and services, digital giants sometimes need immense amounts of user data. And when it is difficult to obtain this information, it happens that these companies offer a group of Internet users to voluntarily provide this data, in return for a kind of remuneration.

Market studies

For example, in the US and UK, Amazon offers an invite-only app called the Shopper Panel that allows volunteers to earn rewards. Users of this application can for example earn 10 dollars by sharing 10 supermarket receipts (or movie theater receipts, the restaurant bill, etc.).

Another program rewards the user for responding to surveys. And according to Business Insider, a new program in Amazon’s app is allowing users to earn new rewards by allowing the e-commerce giant to analyze their smartphone traffic.

Amazon needs data to optimize its ads

The purpose of this collection: to optimize the company’s advertisements. “The Amazon Shopper Panel application will collect and use information about where and when you see advertisements from Amazon, such as the application or website where you viewed the advertisement and the time of day at which you viewed it”can we read on the company’s website.

And that includes ads from Amazon, as well as those from companies using its Amazon Ads network, that appear on Amazon sites and apps, or third-party sites and apps. The program’s name, “ad verification,” suggests that the goal is to verify the effectiveness of ads.

Access to traffic, against 2 dollars

To access the information it needs, Amazon asks volunteers to grant it permission similar to what VPNs are granted to secure a connection. But in this specific case, these permissions are not used to make the connection more secure.

They will be used by Amazon to set up a DNS connection, through which the e-commerce giant will be able to collect information about the Amazon advertisements you have seen.

The idea is not necessarily bad. Amazon needs data to optimize its advertising network, and the collection of this data is done with explicit consent from a volunteer.

The concern is that compared to the amount of data Amazon could collect with its DNS, the reward seems pretty meager. Indeed, in return, the company only offers 2 dollars.

“You can earn $2 a month by turning on ad verification to allow Amazon to confirm the ads you see. Amazon’s advertisements may include Amazon’s own advertising or third-party companies that advertise through Amazon Ads”we read on the company’s website.

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