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4 Reasons Why Apps Sell Customer Data

Most apps now sell customer data. It's a way for them to make money, because this customer data is invaluable to advertisers and marketers. However, customers aren't always aware what data they're giving away, or how it's being sold. This information isn't always easy to find, but understanding how and why apps want your data will give you some clues. Looking in the privacy policy and online is a good way to uncover these facts.

Selling Data Keeps Apps Free

Free apps need to make money somehow, so they can keep the app free for users. These apps make money in several ways, including letting you pay for extra features, selling advertising space, and selling your data. It's obvious this is what an app is doing if it asks to access parts of your phone, like your calendar or your health data, when you install it. If it wants information like your birthdate before you can make an account, same thing. You should check the privacy policy in free apps to find out what they'll do with your data.

Customer Information Is Useful for Tailored Advertising

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Ever wondered how apps like Facebook and Amazon know to advertise something right after you've been searching for that thing on the internet? They collect your data, and advertisers are able to send ads your way. To some, it seems invasive, and that makes sense. Ultimately, advertisers are trying not to waste money putting ads in front of people who don't want to see them. So, an app selling your data helps an advertiser know exactly which ad to place in front of you. You can always restrict permissions, so these apps don't have access to certain information.

Businesses Offer Demographic Information to Advertisers

Before the internet and smartphones, advertisers only had general demographic information, like generational age groups and gender, for research. Now, the information apps collect can give advertisers info about specific demographic information, like what part of the world you live in and a more exact age group. The information allows advertisers to do market research in ways that haven't been previously available, making them able to create products and services specific to your demographics.

Manufacturers Need Customer Data for Development

Future app and product development is increasingly relying on customer data that apps sell. When companies get enough data on someone's spending patterns, for example, they have an easier time predicting what people in that demographic are going to need to buy. That could help coupon apps, for example, target an audience with a helpful coupon at the perfect time. Look for how the apps protect your data. If they cannot report any sort of encryption, you should avoid that app and look for alternatives.

If an app has an unsatisfactory privacy policy, or does not report how they will be using or selling your data, that app isn't a safe bet. You should also continue to check which apps are allowed to access which parts of your phone, and regularly delete your accounts with apps you're no longer using.

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