Consumer Reviews – Profiting from data

Why do we pay for things that should be free?  Would you pay to use a bathroom, or to take a drink from a public drinking fountain? Generally no! Then why do we, as a society, feel content with paying for access to data that is created by and for the general public.

I would venture to bet that most of us are not okay with it.  In fact the popularity of sites such as Wikipedia and the decline of paid information services such as Encyclopedia Britannica seem to indicate we like having access to data at no cost.  Most people would agree that information generated, and therefore owned, by our collective society should not have a cost associated with is access and use.

A good example of data that is created by the public, but is often sold back to the public, is consumer reviews of business, product, and, services.  This data is based on the feedback of one consumer and is intended for the consumption and use of another consumer. Charging for access to this data is like a bully standing in front a public drinking fountain asking for a payment before you can have a drink! This data is a public resource and should be free to the general public. Its up to you the consumer, that data owner, to decide if you want to pay for this data, or have access to this data for free.

Think twice before paying for that subscription fee to get access to consumer reviews. Ask a friend for a review/reference or use Bid On My Job ( to see consumer reviews for free.