At the 2018 edition of the SEEDIG Youth School, students had to prepare a debate on Internet business models. They were divided into two teams: Team Cyberton (representing Internet users) and Team Digitalia (representing Internet companies). The two teams had the task to come up with a new Internet business models in which there is a better balance between the interests of Internet companies and the rights and interests of end-users. The models developed by the students are presented below.
A. Team Cyberton
The Internet business model prepared by the Team Cyberton – which represented Internet users – is the following:
1. Users give away their personal data and allow the Internet company to use/sell their data for marketing purposes and/or to third parties. The Internet company shall pay individual users for their data being collected and processed with consent.
a. The scope of data for which the consent is given shall be specified in advance.
b. Users shall be entitled to monetary compensation for the sharing or selling of their data. The compensation shall be proportional to the annual revenues earned by the Internet company, based on individual users’ data, in the users’ country of residence.
c. If the data is misused, the Internet company shall pay for the damages suffered by individual users.
d. If the Internet company wants to share or sell users’ data, it shall first ask users for consent. If individual users agree to their data being collected and processed, they shall be entitled to monetary compensation. Users shall see customized ads based on their profiles.
2. Users enjoy free services of the Internet company, but do not allow for their data to be used for marketing purposes and/or selling to third parties.
a. Users shall see general ads.
b. Users’ data is not shared with or sold to third parties. User data is only stored for a limited period of time so the Internet company can identify its users and provide them with the services they have registered to.
Children under 18 shall enjoy free services only. They shall not be offered any paid option. They shall not be shown any ads.
B. Team Digitalia
The Internet business model prepared by the Team Digitalia – which represented an Internet company – is called EMONA (Easy Monetising Network Assets). The model originally had three options for users:
1. Free: Free registration, non-customised general ads, data collection without processing.
2. Freemium: Users pay for using the platform; the platform does not show ads, and it does not process the users’ data.
3. Super Premium (offered to Free users after a period of time): Users are paid for their data being used for marketing purposes or sold to third parties (i.e. advertisers). They shall be entitled to a monetary compensation that shall be determined in accordance with the scope of information the users agree to be collected, processed and/or shared with third parties and proportional to monthly or annual revenues. Users shall see customised ads.
Team Digitalia’s goal was to encourage users to become Super Premium users as more data means more money. The model is considered sustainable for an internet company, as in every option it earns revenue.
C. Cyberton + Digitalia Hybrid Business Model
After long debates and negotiations, Team Cyberton and Team Digitalia have agreed on a hybrid business model, as described below.
1. Free registration, non-customised general ads, data is collected without being used for profiling or being sold to third parties.
2. Users are paid for their data being used for marketing purposes or sold to third parties. The amount of payments shall be determined in accordance with the amount of information users agree to share. Users see customised ads.
a. If users’ data is intentionally or unintentionally misused, the Internet company shall pay damages to users.
b. If the Internet company wants to sell users’ data, it shall ask them first for their consent. If users agree, they shall be entitled to monetary compensation for the sharing or selling of their data.