Who Controls Diners’ Data? OpenTable Moves to Assert Control


Data is the name of the game these days. Who has access to what data has been the subject of everything from senate hearings to documentaries, TV shows to blocked M&A transactions. An Economist cover touted data as the new oil. As with any asset, however real or imaginary, the fight for ownership and control can get messy - who owns what? This week OpenTable, the online booking and restaurant management service, updated their terms and included a provision that "block[s] restaurants from giving competitors access to diner data acquired through OpenTable unless they pay new fees." Restaurants are understandably miffed. The diner information should be under their control since, in booking with the restaurant, diners have chosen to provide certain information that should be able to use as desired (even if it means sharing that information with another restaurant booking service). OpenTable says they are protecting diner privacy. Tough hill to die on considering they're willing to trade that for a small additional fee per diner.


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