The Japanese company オーシャナイズ (Oceanize) has started a new business called タダコピ (Tadacopy – http://www.tadacopy.com/). They’re putting photocopiers on Japanese college campuses that the students can use to make copies for free. What’s the catch? There are ads printed on the back of the copies!
This screen shot from their web site shows their equation of copy + ad = ￥０. Above the ￥０ it says “you can also target segments”, and the picture at the bottom shows a woman with a smartphone. The scheme runs deeper than just ads. They have a smartphone app (shown here), which no doubt invasively tracks users, collects personal info, and requires a login. This type of tracking information is invaluable to ad based companies and no doubt provides more value to them than just the printed ads.
The sad thing is people everywhere are getting in line to hand over their personal information and privacy for free stuff which is only worth pennies, far less than what they are giving up.