When the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke out in March 2020, it left the world stunned and enraged. Although some Facebook users were surely already aware of the extent of the data leakage and unauthorized data sharing that was happening on the social media platform, now many were made aware and astonished by the extent of the privacy invasion.
However, not only social media giants engage in such blatant invasion of users’ privacy. Former CIA employee Edward Snowden’s exposé of the CIA’s collection and use of citizens’ private information left even world leaders horrified.
This raised the question: is your data ever safe? And how much data are users unintentionally divulging on the internet? As mentioned in a satirical New Yorker article — ‘You always click “Accept Cookies” whenever that pops up, and you don’t even know what “cookies” means.’
What is Profila?
In the modern-day ecosystem of constant and belligerent surveillance, platforms like Profila try to make a difference.
Profila is a Switzerland-based tech startup that built a new customer data, engagement & marketing platform which is forging a new era toward Decentralized Marketing (DeMar) platforms built on blockchain & privacy preserving technologies. In its own words, the platform is designed to put more trust between people and brands, enabling them to interact privately, one-on-one, to their mutual benefit.
Profila started in 2017 and is now 20+ members big, with gifted thinkers and dedicated technicians cherry-picked from various sectors including privacy law, big data, online advertising and AdTech, and blockchain technology.
How does Profila work?
On the Profila app, users can create profiles and decide what amount of data they want to share to receive targeted ads (anonymously if they choose to remain so). The app promises that users will have complete control over their personal data and can even derive compensation for sharing it with brands of their choice on the Profila app. Brands, in turn, will receive more accurate feedback and direct insights. And this can help them provide customers with a more personalized user experience.
Brands can register, make an account, set up a campaign and start communicating with their customers in the app. There is also a guided onboarding process where Profila helps brands set up campaigns and effectively use each feature of the Brand dashboard.
Profila possesses a range of distinctive features that propels it to the top of its game. Some of its many traits are:
- Personal profile in which each user can create and manage their own personal information
- Gamified education section with different modules that teach users about privacy rights
- Rights management tool that allows an individual to exercise data privacy rights
- Function that allows each customer to capture their sentiments, desires, or preferences about a brand or product
- Quiz section that allows users to create the most accurate, authentic, and valuable zero-party data about themselves
- Data subscription process that allows consumers to enter into a contract with an unlimited number of brands which governs the brand’s access to an individual’s profile
The brand dashboard boasts of the following features:
- Brand portal in which the brand can manage all its company information, contact details, information about how it processes personal data
- Function to send “Brand Moments” (i.e., personalized advertising) which are similar to social media posts, consisting of a picture, message, video, audio, article or any other form of content, offers or information about the brand
- Tools by which the brand can have an overview of each individual consumer that opts to share data
How Profila is different from other brands
Of course, Profila is not the first of its kind. Other platforms that offer similar services are Brave, Google FLOC, and PIMs. But its Zero Knowledge Advertising (ZKA) solution set it apart from its competitors. ZKA is an advertising ecosystem where users can browse the web without having to share their personal data with third parties (advertisers, publishers, etc.), but where they still receive relevant ads anonymously.
The main functionalities of Profila’s ZKA solution are:
First, it has cross-platform capabilities. It works in different venues (e.g., mobile apps, web browsers, video platforms) contrary to walled garden approaches.
Second, it offers anonymity by default, unlike on other rival apps. Third, consumers receive compensation, something that not many other competitors offer. Users are rewarded for both their interaction (e.g., watching or clicking) with ads as well as for the data they voluntarily decide to share with advertisers.
Fourth, the data is consumer-created. This places the user in a position of power instead of at the mercy of tech giants. And lastly, it is auditable. The use of cryptography techniques generates irrefutable proofs of the actions performed by the involved stakeholders in the ZKA solution. In other words, ZKA natively integrates auditing capabilities to provide safety to users, publishers, advertisers, and other Ad Tech stakeholders.
Profila’s own token
Profila has created their own Cardano-native token called Zero Knowledge Token (ZEKE). ZEKE will compensate users for helping each other keep their identities anonymous, while also reducing ad fraud and the misuse of personal data online by businesses.
How Profila earns its revenue
Customers can earn cash and exclusive brand value for maintaining accurate and active profiles. And brands can communicate with and market to their valuable customers. But how does Profila profit from this venture? Unlike several unscrupulous sites that profit off of user’s data without their consent, Profila is transparent about how it makes its bucks. The app’s revenue comes from two streams: businesses paying for customer data and insights; and brands delivering paid content or advertising to people in their new marketing channel.
Data privacy in the modern world can sometimes sound like a fairytale: good on paper but fictional nonetheless. Most of the digital economy is built on stolen or misused data. And governments and corporations alike cannot be trusted when it comes to data security. This is what makes platforms like Profila not just relevant but necessary in this day and age. The decentralized ad-delivery system – which Profila is referring to as DeMar or Decentralized Marketing (in line with the increasingly famous DeFi or Decentralized Finance applications – ensures the safety of user data above all else. Customers can create, maintain and selectively share their digital profile with brands. They are in control and can choose when and where they want brand marketing and communication. And brands get to receive accurate zero-party data and insights. In, short Profila creates a perfect win-win situation for the modern data-driven world.
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