Flash Guide #8: Digital Me2B Commitments & Deals

Written by Internet Safety Labs
September 1, 2021

Download PDF

Version 1.0 | September 1, 2021

#Me2BRelationship #Me2BLifecycle #Me2BCommitments #Me2BDeals

Over the course of the digital Me2B Lifecycle, individual “Me-s” (Data Subjects) will have the choice of deepening the relationship through a series of Me2B Commitments with the online vendor, “B” (Data Controller). This guide provides examples of common Commitments and Deals, and shows how they map to the stages of a Me2B Lifecycle. It also reflects social norms for being anonymous, recognized, or known at each stage.

Flash Guide #7 introduced the Me2B Lifecycle, both online and offline. This Flash Guide takes a deeper dive into the digital Me2B Lifecycle, with a focus on the types of Me2B Deals and Commitments that define each state. 

As in any relationship, ongoing two-way transactions ultimately shape the arc of the relationship lifecyle over time. Over the course of the digital Me2B Lifecycle, the individual (“Me”) will be asked or will seek to enter into specific bargains with the vendor (“B”). These opportunities to move along the relationship arc are called Me2B Commitments.

What’s the difference between a Me2B Deal and Me2B Commitment?

A Me2B Commitment is typically presented to the individual “Me” through the user interface, and it is an opportunity to transact with the B to agree to enter a new state, taking a step along the relationship arc into a specific commitment state, changing the intensity of the relationship.


The Me2B Deal describes the terms of the commitment, i.e. what our “typical Me”, Mia, gives to the B and what she receives in exchange. (see Flash Guide #5 Me2B Deal Currencies).

Examples of Me2B Commitments & Deals, as experienced by Mia, our representative “Me”,  are provided in Table 8.1, below.

Me2B Commitment Description Me2B Deal
Cookie Commitment Mia accepts cookies. Mia allows the vendor (the “B”) to write cookies (and other data) to local storage in exchange for a better user experience.
Location Commitment Mia approves location sharing. Mia shares her location information for a better, location-aware experience.
One-off Transaction Mia performs a one-off transaction, like buying something from a retailer without creating a log-in. Mia provides cash equivalent in exchange for a tangible good or service.
Promotional Commitment Mia enrolls for promotional communications from the vendor. Mia shares email address and potentially other information in exchange for timely promotional communications from the B.
Loyalty Commitment Mia enrolls in Loyalty Program. Mia shares personal information and ongoing transactional information in exchange for valuable discounts from the B.
Me2B Marriage Mia creates an account on the site/app. Mia shares personal information, ongoing transactional and behavioral information in exchange for valuable, personalized service.

Table 8.1 – Me2B Commitments and Me2B Deals 

Each of the stars in Figure 8.1, below, depicts the point where a Me2B Commitment begins. Note that each of these commitments could also have a corresponding end point overlaid on the lifecycle. For simplicity we have not shown those end points – except for the cessation of the “Me2B Marriage” which is shown as “Close Account”.    

Figure 8.1 Me2B Commitments over a Digital Me2B Relationship Lifecycle 

Figure 8.1 Me2B Commitments over a Digital Me2B Relationship Lifecycle 

As described in Flash Guide #7, Me2B Deals (and the associated Me2B Commitments) should follow the identification norms — Anonymity, Recognition, and being Known —  that match the stage of the relationship where they occur. Figure 8.2 illustrates how the behavioral norms for identification for each stage map onto the Me2B Commitments during the course of the Me2B Relationship Lifecycle.   

Figure 8.2 Digital Me2B Lifecycle with Behavioral Norms

Figure 8.2 Digital Me2B Lifecycle with Behavioral Norms 

These identification norms  provide a crucial social context that is presently missing from technology standards and privacy regulation. This missing context can be understood as the state of the Me2B relationship, and ignoring it accounts for substantial harm to Me-s, such as rampant profiling and manipulation.i  

This contextual overlay on the Me2B Lifecycle gives us the language and framework—whether as Me-s, technology makers, policy makers, or standards makers – to better describe how technology should treat us and, importantly, when it departs from expected social norms, as nearly all technology does today. In particular, it serves as a foundation from which the Me2B Alliance works to develop rigorous standards for respectful and safe technology.   

  1. See also the Me2B Alliance Digital Harms Dictionary for a fuller list of harms, as well as the Data Justice Lab’s Data Harm Record,

© Me2B Alliance 2021