Saying No to Data Mining

Every week, I get unsolicited emails from people wanting to harvest my extension user’s data. Rest assured, I mark them all as spam!

How They Get Your Data

They get in touch with app owners and instruct them to inject code in their own app. The more permissions the app has the more data is available, such as browsing habits like where you shop and what you buy. It is then sent to a third party to be mined. In exchange, the owner is paid by the amount of traffic they deliver. The more users they have, the more traffic and the more money they get. I’ve received offers ranging from $1,000 to $5,000/month!

I feel vindicated saying no to all these offers for years especially in the wake of Cambridge Analytica.

Why I Say No

My relationship with my users is built on trust and minimal permissions, and it enables me to live a minimalist lifestyle based on their contributions. Every compromised app lives a short life span after the negative reviews flood in and it eventually gets taken down. My extensions have received great reviews for years and thousands of developers use and scrutinize them daily for suspicious code.

The Unsolicited Emails

They generally have a subject title containing “monetize” or “partnership”.  I’m exposing some of the actual emails below that I’ve received and always dismiss.

 

“I work on Alexa’s data partnership and growth strategy. We are very interested in the possibility of adding click-stream and search data collected from your popular browser extensions such as Checker Plus for Gmail and Google Calendar. Alexa can also help you to collect this data. It’s easy.”

 

“All PubGalaxy Premium publishers get access to a customer team, including a dedicated strategist who is focusing on additional monetization opportunities, knowledge of ad formats, viewability and the industry to be able to provide best practice and advice, catering to the specific audience and publisher needs.”

 

“I am a representative of the company Ехт.GURU., Which is a leader in monetizing browser extensions. Currently Ехт.GURU – the most advanced and profitable platform for profitable cooperation. Based on the above we want to make you a better offer for collaborating.”

 

“I have a few ideas for data monetization for Checker Plus based on what similar companies are doing. Your data could be particular useful for investment services, public safety, market research, and more. Safegraph.com”

 

“Hi!
I represent browser extension monetization platform Ormes.ru. I have reviewed your extension Checker Plus for Gmain, and I would like to invite you to work with our company. I have analyzed, that your extension Checker plus for Gmail can bring you a guaranteed high income. You can get the maximum profit with our service for monetizing browser extensions, while our advertising is not annoying or malicious, and does not prevent the extension of functionality.”

 

“Hello,
I am the founder of a well-known advertising platform in France.
I work with 1’900 advertisers on French market.
If you are looking for a partner for your french IPs on chrome extension or firefox addons, I could help you.
It is totally invisible for users, we do not add banner. I add the tracking where I can find link from our advertisers.
And I give you 50% of commissions.
ADSTOURS SAS”

4 Replies to “Saying No to Data Mining”

  1. It’s pretty fantastic you have so few permissions. It’s not often I pay out of pocket to subscribe to something ongoing for a *calendar* app…but in this case I feel it’s worth it. Thanks for having integrity (as the other comment stated.)

  2. Hi I love your developments and how they work for all of us. Especially if it’s just a minority few. I vote no on data mining through and through. Of course it is worth keeping confidential,because well knowledge is Power but is too often used against us. Take Mark Z for example. Hell in my day which was before Facebook, there were SLAMBOOKS. “hand written information about people and things that was based on just opinions rather than facts and features. So Mr Green J programmer I stand with you and vote no to data mining. You have my support and I will always be HONEST on how I feel or think about anything you need help or suggestions with. I like u A Lot and O how you work and C. yep

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