The newest commodity this days is crowd sourced data. All the digital corporations push this envelope harder and harder.
Google wants to make me a “local guide”: post images of places on google maps and review businesses for free of course (they give you a badge, you know like boy scouts badges). This is lately extremely aggressive, with daily notifications and with force tagging of pictures if your location is activated. Lucky for us they are still forced to ask for permission and not automatically share your data.
Facebook aggressively pushes notifications and automated posts like:
– share friendship of X years
– post more often messages
– birthday wishes reminders
All to generate more content on the social network which you “donate” to Facebook.
LinkedIn which from a professional social network made the shift to a more Business Facebook clone. Aggressively pushes users to post content on LinkedIn, which then can be sold as articles.
TripIt the travel monitoring service lately is bugging me to review hotels and airports so they can sell this data to marketers. Obviously you do that for free.
Booking.com has the same aggressive policy of asking for reviews of hotels.
I think this is a sign that the traditional advertisement model is failing and more and more businesses try compensate this by trying to trick people to create content and value for free.
My 2 cents advice:
Treat your data and generated content like money.
You keep your money in your wallet or your bank account. Do the same with data and content. Do you want to share some knowledge ? Make your own blog (self hosted if possible), do not write content for free for Facebook, Google, LinkedIn , Twitter etc.
Use the social networks just to promote your own content located in a place which is under your control and ownership.
No free reviews
Do not do reviews or tagging for free. They are supposed to pay for that, but as long as there are suckers that do it for free they will not pay. I never post reviews on a merchant online shop, I paid for the product they do not pay me for the review. The same for travel oriented applications like TripIt, GoogleMaps and Booking.com , do they pay you for the review ? They sell the data for big bucks so why you are not part of the profit ?
No free business questionnaires
Why do you want to share your professional opinion for free when you actually should charge for it. When was your last free consultation from a doctor or banker or lawyer ?
Did the last plumper fix your sink for free ?
To conclude, I think is very easy this days to be tricked to do work for free. The fact that some companies started to make billions from free revenues created by people working for them for free will make this aggressive tactics of getting you to give up your content more and more common.
Do not be a slave of the digital economy.