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Your personal data is worth a measly eight bucks a month

Post-broker dangles cash for right to sniff social emissions and spending habits

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You've heard it a zillion times by now: if an online service is free, you are the product.

A New York company called Datacoup is trying to turn that notion on its head a bit, by paying you if you let it monitor your online activities and also let it tap into a stream of information about your credit and/or debit card.

In return, the company will give you eight whole US dollars a month.

For that princely sum Datacoup says it will monitor any or all of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram Foursquare, plus the credit/debit card.

The outfit's pitch is nicely blunt: it thinks you deserve to be paid, rather than sent targeted advertising. It also promises to offer you the power to chose which data it sniffs and sells, plus the right to chose who it on-sells it to. You'll also get pretty visualisations depicting your online life.

MIT Technology Review says Datacoup has signed up 1,500 beta testers, but is yet to land a customer for the data it collects.

Perhaps that's because the kind of person willing to sign up for eight bucks a month isn't the best possible advertising target? With roughly one-decent-coffee-and-a-muffin's worth of cash in your pocket left after income tax, Datacoup doesn't look like the kind of thing that will attract big spenders. ®

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