Rafael Neugart, an Instagram influencer, and celebrity known for his RayFox YouTube channel in Germany recently proved that data is more valuable than consumers. He did so by saying he is willing to sell his entire search history for sale on eBay. What followed was frenzy among hundreds of thousands of followers on social media to get a glimpse of the influencer’s most intimate desires, fears, and hopes.
Neugart said, “I’ve been a successful YouTuber for eight years and you can’t imagine the absurd things I search for in my videos – and the weird ads I get displayed because of it.”
More than 11,000 interested people visited the eBay listing page, within a few days 70 bids were received, and the highest bid was more than $130,000 (110,000 Euros). eBay finally had to give in and stop the auction. The whole episode was actually the work of Neugart, Foundry, and Startpage (a privacy search engine) to demonstrate how user privacy is violated every day on the Internet.
It was not actually planned to earn money with the auction of the search history. The final bid was supposed to come from Startpage itself. A few days after the auction ended, Rafael Neugart shared a video explaining the action on his YouTube channel. “For a long time, I wasn’t aware that there was an option to search on the internet and remain anonymous. That’s why I was keen to do this action. By using Startpage, I no longer have that problem,” explains Neugart. The video has more than 60,000 views.