A new paper was just accepted to the 2nd ACM Workshop on Mobile Systems for Computational Social Science. The paper, written by Omer Barak, Gabriella Cohen, Alla Gazit and Eran Toch, is based on a class project of the first three authors. it investigates a simple question: how much users think they need to get paid to share their geographical location on their social network? Many businesses ask us for a “like” on Facebook, offering a free drink or a free desert in return. So, the question is, how much should we ask for those likes? This question is becoming even more interesting when geographical place sharing is involved, a highly sensitive piece of information.
This paper is based on a user study, where about 20 users were asked to hypothetically give a price tag regarding the actual places they visited. Here is the abstract:
The popularity of location-based services such as Foursquare has made location sharing a common practice. Commercial companies can use the shared location for marketing purposes and often motivate users to share using discounts or special offers. We examine the reward users demand in such a scenario to try and estimate the value they ascribe to their own location information. Our user study is conducted using a mobile phone application that randomly offers users hypothetical money coupons in exchange for publishing their location. Responses by 25 participants to 481 such offers show that the willingness to share increases with coupon value, yet varies greatly with the location being shared. We use logistic regression to estimate the value above which most users will share their location and find it to be €8/€5.4 ($10.4/$7) for a user's home and work respectively. This work contributes to the growing body of knowledge about the economic aspects of location-based services.
The camera-ready version can be downloaded from here.
The results show how the type of the place plays a role in the user’s pricing: