Data is a valuable and monetizable commodity, with personal data representing the Holy Grail of the 21st century.

As of March 31st, 2018, two of the eight largest companies (by market capitalization) in the entire world have built their businesses on the platform of personal data collection with the intention to monetize through advertising sales. The combined market cap of these two companies (Google and Facebook) is a massive 1.21 Trillion US dollars. To put this into perspective, if we compared their market cap to GDP, they would be the 16th largest country in the world! Ahead of countries like the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden.

To Google and Facebook, on a per-user basis, your personal data is worth about $158 and $182 per person, respectively. It’s no wonder that so many companies have jumped on the data monetization bandwagon by providing you products with the intent of selling ad space.

As consumers, we have come to accept this value exchange. If a company provides us with free, useful services, we are willing to share our sensitive, personal data with them. In most cases, this exchange is accepted because we aren’t given a choice. At no point are we asked if we would prefer to make a monthly or one-time payment to opt out of this exchange or if better yet we could provide access to only our data, in exchange for an ad-free experience.

In the call blocking space up until now this value exchange has been no different. The largest and most reputable contributors in this space will provide users with a spam call blocking service in exchange for the right to display ads to them, selling their precious information to third parties in this process. So the call blocking service we’re signing up for may, in effect, result in us receiving more spam calls and more advertisements. Is it just me or does that seem somewhat counter-intuitive?

For the estimated 0.5 Billion or more people using call blocking apps, this value exchange either makes sense, doesn’t matter or more likely is buried in massive amounts of privacy policy text that users never read. For example, from one of the better-known competitors in this space:

As many PlayStore reviewers identify, users are definitely feeling the annoyance of an ad-cluttered app experience, but are willing to eschew their privacy in the absence of a suitable alternative that delivers on its call blocking promise:

At Soul Labs we believe that spam call blocking is a critical tool that should be given away for free without ads and without violating users rights to privacy. Our call blocking app alternative named, Vibely, will connect the community in a way that enables users to block interruptions from nuisance callers, but also provide them with the opportunity to give back and protect sensitive members of society by reporting spam and spoof phone numbers.

From 2014-2017 over 500,000 reports of spam call related fraud were reported in Canada and the US, with over 300M in reported losses. The most impacted age group of spam related fraud was seniors citizens.

At Soul Labs, we are a for-profit organization with a community-focused vision. But because we have built Vibely with the intention of using it to help us train AI systems, we do not need to sell advertising space to monetize.

Instead, we offer users a unique alternative. In exchange for using our product and providing us with access to personal data, we commit to the following:

  1. To provide users with an exceptional call blocking solution and experience that will forever remain 100% ad-free;
  2. To never distribute data to third parties, who, in any way, would use that data to advertise or sell to users;
  3. To apply anonymized data to train our AI models in order to support our human-centric mission of using AI to create an ecosystem of responsible tools that improve our cognitive potential.

In short, Vibely is the free spam call blocker app alternative with no ads. Vibely helps others by engaging users in tagging spam calls. All data collected is anonymized and empowers Soul Labs to build intelligent tools that will help us improve our cognitive potential.

To participate in our Data For Good campaign try Vibely today.

About The Author

Jason van Gaal, CEO of Soul Labs, is a four-time serial entrepreneur with an insatiable desire to tackle complex problems, and an objective of building a business of adequate scale to create a meaningful and positive impact in Canada’s technology landscape.

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