Amazon Is Offering Users $2 a Month for Letting It Track Phone Data
- Amazon’s Ad Verification program offers select users $2 per month for sharing their traffic data.
- It is part of Amazon’s Shopper Panel, an invite-only program that offers users financial rewards.
- The voluntary program could raise privacy concerns over how Amazon handles customer data.
Some Amazon users will now earn $2 dollar per month for agreeing to share their traffic data with the retail giant.
Under the company’s new invite-only Ad Verification program, Amazon is tracking what ads participants saw, where they saw them, and the time of day they were viewed. This includes Amazon’s own ads and third-party ads on the platform.
Through the program, Amazon hopes to offer more personalized-ad experiences to customers that reflect what they have previously purchased, according to Amazon.
“Your participation will help brands offer better products and make ads from Amazon more relevant,”Amazon wrote in its Shopper Panel FAQ.
The $2 reward only applies to Amazon users invited to participate in the program, though customers who didn’t get invited can get added to a waitlist and potentially join later, an Amazon spokesperson told Insider. The spokesperson declined to tell Insider how the company decided who to invite.
The deal is part of the Amazon Shopper Panel, an invite-only program where select Amazon customers can earn $10 per month if they upload 10 eligible receipts from purchases made outside of Amazon. Panelists can receive additional monthly rewards for completing short surveys.
The Ad Verification program — currently limited to US and UK-based Amazon customers — was launched in the wake of concerns from privacy advocates over how Amazon handles sensitive user data.
Earlier this month, Wired reported that experts were anxious about how Amazon would handle the data it obtained through healthcare startup OneMedical. And there have long been concerns over how the company uses the data from its smart home devices like Alexa and Ring, CNBC reported.
Participants can opt out of the program at any time, according to the FAQs.
The company also said it will delete sensitive information such as prescription information from pharmaceutical receipts in accordance to its privacy notice. Participants are able to delete receipts they’ve uploaded to the app whenever they want, per the notice.
Exchanging user data for a financial reward is nothing new.
In 2016, Facebook launched a program that gave monthly $20 gift cards to users between the ages of 13 and 25 if they installed Facebook Research, a VPN app that tracked their online activity for market research, TechCrunch reported.
In 2012, Google launched Screenwise, a program that gave volunteer users $5 Amazon gift cards — with additional ones every three months for up to a year — to download a Google Chrome browser extension that tracked what they did on the internet, Ars Technica reported.
Another part of the Screenwise program gave users $100 — plus another $20 per month after signing up — if they agreed to install a Google-provided router in their homes to track their behavior, per Ars Technica.