Meta-Markets is a stock market for social media profiles.
Users on social media platforms upload content, collect responses, build followers, and get a personalized activity feed. The platform owners capture value of these network effects through control of data and interfaces. They monetize data and analytics about users by selling them to third parties and advertisers. Whereas, the majority of users are not informed about the extend of value they generate on a social media platform. Meta-Markets raises the following questions: What is a user’s worth for a social platform? How might the users benefit from the extend of the value they generate on a social platform?
Meta-Markets empowers members to do an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of their own social media profiles (e.g., Facebook profile) and trade shares of other people using a virtual currency. During an IPO process, each user accepts their profile to be represented as 1000 shares, keeping 50% of these shares, they sell the other half of it in a Dutch Auction IPO. After a 3-day auction period, the initial price of the shares is found and they get traded openly afterwards. As in any marketplace, supply, demand, and speculation determine the value shares for the social media profiles.
Meta-Markets platform was active from 2007 to 2009 at meta-markets.com. The available markets that you could IPO your profile were Facebook, Delicious, Flickr, and Feedburner (a blog analytics company, later acquired by Google). Meta-Markets community traded shares of social media profiles using a virtual currency. Each profile had a discussion forum where fair valuation models were debated, while engaging in an experiment on the relation between market dynamics and social values. The market was shut down after 2 years due to costs, well just as bitcoin was starting.
On May 1st 2008, as an outcome of Meta-Markets, the User Labor protocol was released to outline the metrics of user participation in social web services.