'Your Data Is Worth Way More Than This': Amazon Will Pay You $2 A Month To Track Your Ad Data
You can earn an additional $10 a month if you upload 10 receipts from purchases not made on the site. One privacy hawk was not impressed by the offer price.
Amazon is offering a new program where users can receive $2 a month in Amazon funds if users allow the company to track information about how they see various Amazon and third-party ads on the site, per Insider.
The program is called "Ad Verification."
The company also offers $10 a month in Amazon balances or charitable donations if you upload 10 receipts for purchases made on sites that are not Amazon, per the company's page on the program called the Amazon Shopper Panel. It's unclear if the $2 would be disbursed the same way.
The idea is that it will help customers get more personalized recommendations. The Q&A says that Amazon will use the data "to help advertisers understand the relationship between ads and product purchases at an aggregate level" but will not share it with "third parties."
The program is "an opt-in, invitation-only program" where you can "earn monthly rewards by sharing receipts from purchases made outside of Amazon.com, completing short surveys, and enabling ad verification for the ads they see from Amazon's own advertising or third-party businesses that advertise through Amazon Ads," as the company puts it.
The program is only available to people in the U.S. and UK.
The launch of the Ad Verification side comes as Amazon's stock is down some 44% since the start of the year and reportedly has conducted layoffs. As the outlet noted, other companies have attempted such arrangements before from Google's Screenwise in 2012 to Facebook's VPN app tracker in 2016, but both winded down due to privacy concerns.
But Mark Weinstein, a privacy hawk and founder of the social media network, MeWe, wasn't impressed.
"First of all, they're not paying enough. Your data is worth way more than this," Weinstein told Entrepreneur.
He said he thought it was worth about $20 a month.
For context, Weinstein offered armchair math on a similar company: Meta, for example, said it has 2.96 billion monthly active users in its most recent quarterly earnings report. If you divide its current market capitalization, ($304.33 billion) into that you get about $102.7 a user. That divided by 12 is about $9 per user per month, he notes.
It would be harder to parse out those numbers with Amazon, however, since the company doesn't report things like how many people make purchases at the company's site each month.
Still, Weinstein said it is likely Amazon's customers spend "a lot more" and thus generate more per head than the average Meta user.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment but told Insider that the only people who can get the reward of $2 have to be invited. This appears to also be true of the $10 reward.
"Interested customers who did not receive an invitation can download the app to join the waitlist and will be notified via email when space becomes available," the Shopper Panel site says.
Meanwhile, Weinstein said he would not advise people to sign up for the program because data breaches at major companies have become all too common. He pointed to Amazon's breach in October, which left an Amazon Prime server with users' personal data that was not password-protected — and the company's new push into healthcare.
Amazon says it will get rid of sensitive user data "such as prescription information from drug store receipts."
Wired discussed earlier this month that privacy advocates were concerned about Amazon getting into healthcare, particularly as far as data. Amazon acquired OneMedical, a healthcare tech company, earlier this year.
Related: Amazon May Acquire One Medical. Here's What That Means for You.