Google Jacks Your Social Equity, and Gets Paid in the Process.

Well, I am happy and not with writing this entry. 14 months ago I started penning my ideas about the individual’s role in the social sphere. I went on about influencers, and especially about something I was calling social equity (for lack of a better descriptor). In the case of social equity, I postulated that we are a valuable commodity, and that our own endorsements should be monetized where brands pay us for talking about what we like. Based on followers / impressions / etc, we are likely more effective spokespeople to our peer group than whomever they hire to sell to us.

Apparently Google agrees.

Seems like now our social equity is being leveraged by the big players. This is not necessarily new. For years now they have taken your data and used it for profit, but there was a thin veil of you still being in control. Or that it was innocuous. You are only sharing with your friends, so why not put the personal goods out there? Now the charade is over and the pleasantries have dropped. Being fair to Google, though, you can opt in / out of their service. But the opting is not the real point. The real point is they are making money off what you do, and you are not.

They have seen the power of peers endorsing to peers, and will make billions off of it.

Granted, I am not implying that I could be a billionaire if I were in control of my own social equity, but maybe I make a few hundred a year doing what I would do anyway. That is not too bad. People who are more focused or with a broader reach could stand to make thousands.

Google is not alone in this, to be sure. The other major networks are just as conniving in their actions. They have just simply not been so brash in their intent. All the social networks make money off your back, and then screw around with how you continue to interact with their product. Clearly this is pointed at Failbook (Facebook) and their propensity to change the rules and then ask forgiveness. Apparently we are okay with this.

Twitter is doing the same now. After aggregating countless bits of data and information from us and third party apps and services, they are closing the door on the very people that helped make them what they are. While I can understand the business model behind the decisions, the impact on the end user (AKA: The Money Train) is a shift from what we have grown used to and comfortable with. In some cases, it could even has financial impact. Small costs to the end user if they opted to buy any specific clients, but completely gutting the profit potential of third party developers.

Yes, the individual user can still use the service. The flavor around it is starting to sour, though. It is like the cool local club where everyone hung out finally realized that they ‘made it’ and turned away all the long term patrons to shuffle in some exclusive members. And changed the music. Not a total change, but bland enough that the atmosphere is just lacking that something special it once had.

Bringing this back to Google. They are monetizing our reviews, comments and other interactions online. We will start appearing to our friends in ads. Ads for companies that do not pay us anything, but pay Google. That is the big fail to me. Sure, Google provides a service and their ads generate quite a hefty sum of money. However, they ‘added’ bonus of peer endorsement has nothing to do with Google. That is money which really ought to head to you.

There are ways to start protecting your social equity before even more of it gets robbed from you. It all comes back to owing your own content. I have said for years that everything we put out there, even in a protected file, is getting read and leveraged by someone. Moving forward, your online presence will become currency. You need to start protecting your best investment, yourself.

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