Which apps and websites do we call up, which offers particularly appeal to us? These questions are of great interest to advertising groups. Amazon now wants to know for sure.

In principle, the idea is understandable: If users see advertising that matches their interests, it is much more valuable for the customer and the advertiser than any advertising for irrelevant products. In fact, this data practice means that the corporations are snooping on us almost non-stop. Amazon is now going a step further – and is even willing to pay for it.

Participants receive a total of two dollars, or 1.90 euros, per month for their willingness to provide information. In return, they agree to running the entire data traffic of their smartphone via Amazon’s server and thus to allow the company access to all non-encrypted connections of the device. Amazon explains on its website which content the user consumes when and how he interacts with it.

Drastic advertising surveillance

The question that Amazon wants to answer with continuous monitoring: Which ads are users really clicking on? The program called “Ad Verification” provides for evaluating all use of apps and websites. “Your participation will help brands offer you better products and make Amazon advertising more relevant,” the company said. In practice, the evaluation therefore mainly relates to advertising. Amazon wants to know which advertising from the company and from competitors is shown to users in everyday life. And which of them triggers a click incentive for them.

The advertising evaluation is only part of an existing Amazon program. For a while now, Amazon’s Shopper Panel app has allowed volunteers to earn small amounts of Amazon credit by taking surveys or uploading receipts from in-store purchases. The Ad Verification program is now available to select users as an additional option, previously limited to the US and UK. When asked by “Insider”, the group did not want to reveal how Amazon selected the invitees.

Not a new idea

However, this method of data collection is not new. As early as 2016, Facebook sucked off the data of voluntary participants using a VPN server. Although the group was willing to pay significantly more for it, at 20 euros a month, the project was a big hit when it became known. The Facebook Research app also sniffed out teenagers, and most users don’t seem to have realized just how much Facebook was able to screen them (read more here). At the beginning of 2019, the group pulled the ripcord – and discontinued the sniffer app.

Sources: Amazon, Insiders