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Did you hear about how Maine recently passed a bill banning internet providers from selling your data without your consent?
Your data is valuable.
And you've probably heard many stories in the news about how your data is being sold for big money by search engines and the social media.
While in many states there's not much you can do about that, but there are now apps available where you can sell your data for cash. Not a lot of cash, unfortuantely, but could you use a few dollars a month? Especially for something you probably don't miss anyway?
If you don't mind sharing your information, and you want to earn money passively, some of the nine apps on this list can enable you to participate in the data-for-cash bonanza that's currently taking place without your permission (or even knowledge!).
Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel
The Nielsen Company is famous for tracking the behavior of TV viewers, but usually by telephone surveys. Not surprisingly, they've extended that to computers and mobile devices through Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel. They give away $10,000 each month for this purpose, at up to $50 for anyone willing to add their app to your Internet device.
You install the app on your computer, phone, tablet, e-reader or another mobile device, and it will track your activity. You'll receive sweepstakes entries and earn points worth up to $50 per month. They don't disclose what the points can be used toward.
Honeygain is an app you install on your smartphone or computer that will pay you for your internet connection. It's slightly different than the other companies on the list because you aren't selling your consumer behavior or internet activity, the app uses your internet to do market research on behalf of its clients. They may do internet searches to see where their client websites are listed, they may check prices online for comparison shopping sites, and they simply use your connection without any of your information.
It's completely free and you can learn more in our Honeygain review.
National Consumer Panel
National Consumer Panel collects data on your purchases. You receive the NCP mobile app or handheld scanner, and use it to scan barcodes on all items you buy. You'll then earn points to redeem for gifts and sweepstakes entries.
This is a partnership between the research firms Nielsen and IRi.
Points are redeemed through the NCP gift catalog, while the quarterly sweepstakes pays out up to $20,000 if you win. You can earn even more points by participating in surveys or joining special studies.
DataCoup describes itself as the “world's first personal data marketplace”, and as “the only company that helps you sell your anonymous data for real, cold hard cash”. You can use the app to connect to various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Tumblr. You can also link a debit or credit card to monitor your spending activity. However, when you do, the connection is read-only to your bank, and credentials are never stored.
Each data source has a certain market value, and you'll be paid whenever that data is purchased. You can redeem earnings whenever you've accrued a minimum of $5. Earnings accumulation is frozen at $25, until you redeem your money. After that, you can resume participation. Money can be sent to a Visa or MasterCard debit card.
This might be the most generous app on this list since there's no indicated cap on how much you can earn.
MobileXpression collects data from your mobile device. Once you sign up for the app, you'll be eligible for weekly credits that can be redeemed for gift cards to a selection of retailers. But to start, you play an instant rewards game for a prize after you've participated for one week. Everyone wins a prize, which is usually a gift card.
Jason at Frugal For Less shares his experience with the MobileXpression platform. It boils down to installing the software and letting it track your usage.
Killi by Freckle IoT
Killi by Freckle IoT enables you to opt in and select specific types of personal information to share with brands in exchange for money. It works on a series of survey questions, such as are you planning to buy a car, how many cups of coffee you drink a day, or when shopping online, what's more important: shipping or price? You'll earn money for each survey you answer, which is paid by the buyer of your data.
The money you earn is stored on the app until you redeem it for cash. You can cash-out once you have at least $5 accumulated, using an Amazon gift card. Or you can store up $10 using PayPal.
Smart Panel can be installed on any registered device, then you can take surveys to earn rewards. You'll get $5 just for qualifying for participation, then an additional $5 every 30 days your devices stay connected. They also offer monthly giveaways and loyalty bonuses every three months.
Screenwise Panel, a.k.a. Cross Media Panel/Google Opinion Rewards, is an invite-only program sponsored by Google. It's a partnership with GfK and, not all that surprisingly, requires you to install the Google Chrome browser.
Then, you install a browser extension on each computer or laptop in your household. You can install a mobile meter on any smartphone devices.
Seven days after you sign up, you'll receive $8. If you remain a member, you receive an additional $2 per week. That will give you the ability to earn just over $100 per year, just for having your browsing history tracked by the app.
FusionCash will pay you $5 just for signing up for the app. This requires confirming your email address and completing a brief survey. They also pay bonus credits for participation in surveys and sign-up offers, as well as forum posting, Twitter follows, payment pictures, profile completions and referral bonuses. The amount of credits, and what they can be redeemed for, varies by offer, ranging from $0.05 to $5 each. You can be paid by check, bank deposit or PayPal.
Panel App enables you to earn prizes, rewards and sweepstakes, just for going about your usual online activity. It's a little different in that it is more about tracking your location than about your user activity.
But you can also earn bonus points by completing surveys, connecting your social networks and referring your friends. The website, which is fairly simple, doesn't say what the points can be redeemed for, so you'll be taking a bit of a leap with this one.
You won't make a fortune on any of these apps – just a few dollars a month.
But your data is regularly being monitored and harvested without your permission, so you may as well make at least a little bit of money on it!