Bill Densmore: The information valet project research proposal

Are people willing to pay for information online?  Do they truly value privacy?  What kind of information are consumers looking for online?

To sustain an information valet economy — and along with it both participatory democracy and journalism — the next generation Internet needs a user-focused system for sharing identity, exchanging and settling value (including payments) for digital information.  A challenge is to create a system that can be ubiquitous, yet never be owned or controlled by either the government of dominant provide, for-profit entity.  It should be massively distributed and — in some fashion — might ideally by collaboratively owned.  When operational, such as an Information Valet Service will provide new opportunities to sustain journalism both with more efficient advertising and simple mechanisms for user subsidy or purchase.

What is Information Valet Project?

The Information Valet Project (IVP) at the Reynolds Journalism Institute is organizing an information-industry collaborative to build, own and operate a shared-user network layered upon the basic Internet.  The IVP will:

  • Allow end users to own, protect — an optionally benefit by sharing – their demographic and usage data, with the help of their competitively chosen “information valet” — such as the local newspaper.
  • Provide a platform for customizing and personalizing the end-user web experience — a “new social network”
  • Update the role, effectiveness of, and compensation for online advertising and marketing services.
  • Allow online users to easily share, sell and buy content through multiple websites with one ID, password, account and bill.

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