Data traders’ drop out game has started?

2019/03/27

Last week, it was reported that Oracle has stopped selling AddThis data in Europe (link). AddThis tool might be unknown to the general public. It’s a free social media sharing widget that can be installed on the site, which allows easy sharing of website content to different channels by installing only one script. However, there are no free lunches. By implementing this “free” tool at the same time, it has given AddThis a full, unrestricted right to sell the data or do what it wants with it. For most webmasters, this reverse side of the coin has been unknown, as who will now read the terms of a free product (for those who watch South Park, you will certainly remember the HumancentiPad period)? The majority have no idea that their browsing data on over 15 million websites will end up in Oracles’ merchandise.

The reason Oracle now quits this data business in Europe is largely due to the fact that the service does not follow GDPR requirements. Consumers should be told that data is being collected and given the opportunity to refuse this. Monitoring is challenging, if not impossible, because this add-on is installed on millions of sites. For a company as big as Oracle, a simpler and safer solution is to end this type of business than to risk their reputation and potential GDPR sanctions. Although Oracle paid $200 million to buy AddThis, it is a rounding mistake for a company who has a $40bn turnover and whose market value is $180bn.

Data traders who collect their data in contravention of the GDPR can still be found in bulk and we believe that the removal of AddThis is just a prelude. We will see significant market cleaning done during this and next year and the first signs of this are already visible in the Nordic countries. Authorities have not yet been able to focus on online businesses beyond global giants, but when the time comes, many gamers will face challenges. In the development of Relevant Audience, transparency has been the most important value since the beginning. We believe that the value of high-quality, legally collected online data will increase in the near future.

The use of data in online advertising increases the effectiveness significantly, but it is important to ensure that the company’s own data is used within the framework of the rules of the game, and that also the third parties collect data legally and ethically.

I will be happy to continue the discussion on the topic

Olli Järvilehto / Head of Data, Relevant Digital Oy

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