To partner with Facebook and Google on subscription models, publishers should adopt an opt-in model

In a column two weeks ago, Frederic Filloux argued that publishers should work with tech platforms like Facebook and Google to use their data to boost subscription models. This week, Filloux responds to criticism of that point, refining the idea to include an opt-in model to help with privacy issues. “In many cases, readers maintain a long-lasting trust relationship with a news brand. By the same token, many also have built a trusting bond with the platform: handling email with Gmail, allowing Google Map or your Android phone to remember all your trips, not to mention all the intimate material thrown into Facebook’s newsfeed, is indeed an act of blind confidence,” Filloux writes. “Based on this, publishers are in a good position to ask their customers: ‘You are a repeated reader of [publication X]. In order to provide you a more personalized experience, would you allow [Facebook, Google…] to share with us some of your relevant data?’ This would come with a proper access to the user data in question, and a clear explanation of benefits. How many regular readers would opt in? My guess is the vast majority will do.”