Meta-Markets was a stock market for social media profiles, it was active from 2007 to 2009 at meta-markets.com.
Users on social media services generate value as they upload content, collect responses, and build their social graph. While the service providers monetize user activity by selling access to third parties and advertisers, users themselves are clueless about the value they generate. Meta-Markets raised the following questions: As users of social media what monetary value we create for the service providers? How might the generators of that value can benefit from it?
On Meta-Markets members did IPO (Initial Public Offering) shares of their social media profiles in a Dutch auction and traded shares of other people using a virtual currency. During the IPO, each user accepts to represent their profile as 1000 shares, keeps 500 shares and auctions the rest. After a 3-day auction, the initial value of the shares is decided and it gets traded openly afterwards. As in all stock markets, supply and demand determines the value of each share of the social media profile.
Meta-Markets community traded shares of people and discussed valuation models, while building an experiment on the relation between market dynamics and social values. The market was shut down after 2 years due to costs, just as bitcoin was starting.
On May 1st 2008, User Labor protocol was released as an outcome of the Meta-Markets platform.