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Robert Banghart

I have applied for membership in AttentionTrust.org, I think there is a very important principle that hasn't received enough attention to date. Principle three states, "Economy: I can pay attention to whomever I wish and be paid for it."

I believe there is monetary value in my personal attention stream. For example, as a user of Attensa for Outlook I have also spent a considerable amount of time contributing in the Attensa Forums. While I have obtained a functioning piece of beta software, Attensa has gained a significant amount of end-user input for free which it intends to monetize when the product goes gold. (I enjoy my time in the Forums and consider my time in the Forums a function of my voluntary membership in the "Gift Economy" for this purpose. At the same time I recognize that there are others in the Forums who are employees of Attensa and receive cash money for their efforts. As a result, while both the employees and I spend our attention stream on the Forums, some of us have monetized that stream and some of us have not.

I also think the monetary value of my attention stream greatly exceeds the monetary value derived by something which analyzes that attention in exchange for something so limited as providing me with fewer more relevant feeds and articles which is apparently the limit of the payoff you are presently considering based upon my reading of this post and other Attensa documents.

The attention stream analyzer (whether it be Attensa or anyone else) is doing so based upon a business model that predicts that others will pay billions of dollars for that information. As a result, I think the value of being able to analyze my attention stream also exceeds any value I may derive from the attention stream analyzer even if it threw in free software that helps me organize the data received while at the same time helping the analyzer analyze my attention stream.

I think the day is rapidly coming when I will want to be paid cash money for every instance of attention information collected about me. I also see the rapid arrival of the date when I have strong legal recourse to enforce all four of the principles espoused by AttentionTrust.org.

In summary, it is my belief that I should either share in the benefits/income any company derives from using my attention stream or I should be able to prevent them from collecting that information (anonymously or not) and using it in any way.

John Q. Public

Hmmm... I'm going to have to soak on Robert's post a bit. Marketers want a complete picture of the consumer (demographic, finanical, ect...). Web analytics (attention data included) is a means by which to intelligently devine information about the consumer. When used in concert with other available data, marketers can piece together a fairly accurate picture. But there in lies the rub. Web analytics are still a faint abstraction of the real truth. Hence, it is one of many means to an end: knowing the customer better.

So I guess I'm a more than little skeptical that companies will pay for faint abstractions of personal information. And while tracking attention data is extraordinarily valuable, especially when analyzed en mass, there are more direct routes to 'knowing' the individual consumer than their attention data.

Don't get me wrong... I fully subscribe to (no pun intended) the notion of and acknowledge the value of attention data. But this consumer-in-control, tivo like, on-demand paradigm that we're entering has many more possibilities than currently exist today.

So a question for Robert: What if you could COMPLETELY abstract yourself away from your identity - providing absolute privacy and security; but giving the marketers a much richer picture of who you are (absent personal data)... what do you think that would be worth? Then, combine that abstraction with the attention data - know you're talkin' value (which equals bucks).

The even more exciting possibility: no more bullshit marketing spammed at you. Just the right product or service offered at exactly the right time and price. Dig it. That's the future.

Robert Banghart

I do not understand the mechanics of the proposed Attensa system (and I also understand why Attensa would not want to go into great detail about them) and that is undoubtedly causing some of my problems. If I completely abstract myself away from my identity it is unclear to me how the marketers are going to have a much richer picture of who I am (absent personal data). On the other hand, it is clear to me that if I were to allow someone to track my attention online for even one week they would have a very clear picture (demographic, financial, etc...) of who they were dealing with. I don’t think it would take any effort to use the information to accurately estimate my educational level, my income, my interests, and even what I would be consider valuable input from marketers.
There would be no looking through a glass darkly. They would probably be able to more accurately predict what I want, what I will spend, and what I will do next than I would be able to do.
It appears to me that you believe that you can use my abstract data together with the attention information to create the perfect state: “…no more bullshit marketing spammed at you. Just the right product or service offered at exactly the right time and price. Dig it. That's the future.”

As an example of the use of my attention information, I am careful that my attention is presently not being followed by tracking cookies, spyware, etc. I spend time daily to insure this state continues. That translates to my placing a high value on who does or does not have access to my attention information.
As an example of the potential use of my attention information cognizant of my attention data should realize that I have been reading about external hard drive back-up options and that I have narrowed my focus to the Western Digital 320GB Dual-option Media Center back-up drive. They should also know the drive I am interested in has nothing to do with driving lessons or driving ranges in Wisconsin (I live on the west coast). That information should be very valuable to vendors of those hard drives. They should be willing to pay someone like Attensa for providing that information. Since Attensa got that information from me I think I should share in some of the income Attensa derives from the vendor.
I assume that it would be Attensa’s position that it derived the information from a large number of people like me and so my actual contribution to the information flow was infinitesimal and therefore of little value. My counter-argument is that of all the people from whom they gathered and sold information to this vendor, it was my attention information –information that belongs only to me - that lead to the sale which lead to both the vendor and Attensa making a profit. I still think it is only fair that all parties share in the profit – including me.
In addition it appears that the vendor providing the right information at the right time is only one of a universe of potential vendors, some of which may have a better price for me. There is no guarantee in this system that the price presented is the best price – only that it is one that I willing to endure without further shopping. That puts a ding in the vision you proffered above of the perfect state and just one more reason we should all share in the profits from ending the shopping and executing a purchase at this point.
In my idealized attention world, Attensa would pay me an hourly rate or on a commission scale to track my attention and insure that the offers presented to me were consistently “just the right product or service offered at exactly the right time and…” the best “…price.”
If I am incorrect in my assumptions or understanding of the Attensa system, please do not hesitate informing me. As already noted my identity and my attention are valuable and their use is of concern to me. At the same time I have no problem sharing aspects of them in a situation that is mutually rewarding.


Reflection to your posting!

On the net every day are posted thousands and thousands of resumes , with all personal data necessary to have a simple and clear picture of individuals looking for job. Information provided by rsumes posted are the best source for marketers profiling people!
What you think ? could be the this the key for our equation?


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