There’s booming market for apps that let you share your data in return for direct reward and even cash. Bid/r is a bit different in that it makes your time and attention a commodity you trade with brands in a marketplace exchange.

It came about no so much because its founder saw a gap in the market but rather that he has had a ringside seat as that market developed

Joe Mandese is Editor in Chief at advertising and marketing industry publisher Media Post. In his 30-year journalistic career he has seen the emergence and evolution of ad tech and understands every nuance of the digital marketing business.

Bid/r founder Joe Mandese
Bid/r founder Joe Mandese

“The Bid/r model started with the quantified self approach – could we organise data for people and help them leverage it and make themselves happier, more powerfu,l more valuable and more secure – all those things. The solution we ended up with was a marketplace approach.”

Bid/r is just that – a marketplace of exchange where a user can ‘trade themselves’. The app supplies a ‘bid feed’ of offers from brands which the user then selects, engages with and rates.

The idea came about from what Joe saw as inefficiencies in an increasingly complex and asymmetrical digital marketplace. A consumer is bombarded with more than 9,000 bids for their attention every day, such as billboard ads, TV commercials and online advertising.

“There’s a lot of bids being made for your attention every day and there’s a a lot of value locked in those bids. But you have no way to organise it all. The people who are attempting to organise it can’t do it either. They are at least trying, but they’re dong it for their benefit – to get your attention and convert you to do something or buy something.

“They don’t do it that well. Behavioural targeting sucks, programmatic targeting sucks, all this enhanced device-based identity-based targeting is not very good.

The Bid/r app lets brands bid for your attention

Bid/r is based on a bidding engine like those that power programmatic advertising.

“We’re taking that and putting it on steroids,” says Joe. “Most consumers have never heard the term ‘bidding engine’ but it’s very common in the ad tech world. It’s a machine engine that allows n programmatic audience marketplace. A brand, an advertiser or an agency competes for the best audience.

“All we’re doing is flipping ad tech and reverse engineering it and giving out to consumers.”

Refreshingly, rather than gamify the app to keep users hooked in, Bid/r has a five-minute daily trading limit.

“We capped the amount of inventory any user could trade on the exchange or marketplace,” explains Joe. “Everyone can only trade up to five minutes a day. Why five mins? It’s enough time that you could extract meaningful value as a consumer trading directly with brands without becoming overwhelming.

“And in showbiz there’s a saying: Always leave them wanting more.”