Sweeney points to U.S. regulation
such as the California Consumer Privacy Act as evidence on
regulation's imminent rise in the states.
"All of this regulation is happening and the industry is
standing on the sidelines, but it can't drop the U.S. market
like some companies did when GDPR hit in the EU," he says.
"They just can't afford that."
Sweeney says Killi currently has some 70,000 users since
launching May 25, symbolically the same day GDPR went into effect,
despite no marketing. That changed this week, as Sweeney began a $5
million campaign aimed at consumer acquisition through platforms
such as Apple Search, Facebook, Twitter and other outfits known for
driving app installs.
Every transaction also occurs through blockchain, which solves
the compliance challenge inherent in regulation such as GDPR or
California's Consumer Privacy Act with regards to securing data,
the company says. Users, meanwhile, have a full record of who
exactly has purchased their data.
Brandon Galindo, an account manager at eMarketer, says he
downloaded the Killi app partly because of privacy concerns. "Right
off the bat you're asked to insert your identity, phone number,
allow persistent location and enable Advertising ID," he says
regarding his experience in signing up. "Brands can reach out to
you, but it is so much more transparent; I'm the one that is asking
for this and I am the one who is allowing you to have my data."
Galindo says he made about 25 cents after signing up for the app
– literally pocket change – but Killi says that will
change once marketers buy in; a luxury brand such as Paneri, for
example, may pay $10 or $20 to target a consumer if the data adds
Sweeney says when additional brands come to the table, "the
average revenue for the user increases. People might not care if
they're getting a dollar, but at $2 some might and there's a
network effect in there that we're chasing, where it suddenly
because $4, then $6."
But for that to happen, more users need to sign up, and the
company is banking hard on the fact that consumers want control of
Lars Feely, a digital media veteran with stints at places such
as Google, Ogilvy and Hearts & Science, downloaded Killi while
visiting his father, watching TV as Mark Zuckerberg testified on
Capitol Hill. "My dad turns to me and asks, 'How much data does
Facebook have on me?'" he says. "That whole weekend was 'holy shit'
to me because I realized that people start paying attention to how
their data is being collected when Zuckerberg gets on stage."
Agencies are keeping tabs
Agencies representing brands that spend billions on marketing
each year are keeping tabs on Killi, but they're not buying any
Donald Williams, chief digital officer at Horizon Media, says,
"The reason we gravitated toward Killi is because beyond all the
turmoil within the personal data landscape, we think this is where
the industry is heading; we've always felt that way being an
organization focused on primary research. It is not the worst thing
in the world to benefit from [a consumer's] own information they
share and marketers who are willing to both observe and pay to get
exposure to those prospective clients."
He adds the company was eager to get on board early "to learn
whether the theory where the relationship between a marketer and
consumer would be strengthened through transparency" is true.
"We thought it was a no brainer," Williams adds. "This is really
about getting to the point where we are having an honest
conversation about value related to media and a brand's product
Still, Williams says the company has not purchased any data, but
instead is keeping tabs on the situation, mainly to see Killi can
indeed scale and capture a user base within the millions. The
reality is outfits such as LiveRamp or demand-side-platforms can
provide the consumer data they need at scale.
Mike Lamar, senior director of biddable investments at Hearts
& Science, has taken a similar position to Williams. "This is
the way the industry is moving," Lamar says. "Consumers are
becoming more aware in how there data is being used."
"It used to be like, 'Sure, use my data, but give me stuff for
free,'" he adds. "But now they are becoming more aware that there
data is being collected and sold not just once, but multiple times
down the chain. They want to have a voice in this, and block all
these advertisers. Without a doubt, there's going to be an
education of the market, and that's going to happen sooner rather