I love free stuff. Especially free Web services. Google, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, all that stuff.
It’s pretty amazing what you can get for free these days.
Except of course there’s no free lunch. Never has been, never will be. You’re paying. Just not with money.
Any time you use a service at no cost to you, you are not the customer, you are the product being sold.
Just like the classic TV model, which is: Hey, here’s free entertainment for you. All you have to do is watch these ads.1
In the TV model, the companies buying the ads are the customers—you, the viewer, are sold to them.
Same thing with the newspaper model—buy a paper, end up a product being sold to advertisers.
Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that. It’s up to you to decide whether the thing you’re getting at no charge2 is worth putting up with the ads or giving up your personal information. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But it’s a choice only you can make.
So the next time you’re thinking about signing up for some new, shiny free service, do take a moment to think about what you’re giving up.
As an addendum, if you want to get ludicrously rich, come up with an idea that will have users create the content themselves and then sell ads targeted at your users. This is how Web-based e-mail and Facebook make their money, and it’s a fantastic business model. Provide a playground, let people do their thing and then sell them to advertisers. If you get enough users, welcome to Cuban cigars and Ferraris.
So ask yourself: “How much am I worth?”
Posted Thursday, 09 December, 2010 by Nic Lindh
Another book roundup, including some stellar athletes and soldiers, what might be the most jaded, soul-weary protagonist ever, and some grimdark fantasy.
The Internet is getting creepy, and Nic is breaking out his tinfoil hat after newspaper paywalls push him over the edge.
Nic is tired of tech sites obsessing over Apple’s financials and business strategy. So very tired.
Nic reads a book about the processed food industry and is incensed.
Computers are complicated. This brings out the irrational in people.
Nic proposes the loan word Rechthaberei be incorporated into American English.
The Core Dump is back! Books were read during the hiatus. Includes The Coldest Winter, Oh, Myyy!, Tough Sh*t, The Revolution Was Televised, The Rook, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Gun Machine, Fortress Frontier, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, and The Memory of Light.
This site will return in February.
From a true patriot to a world-weary detective, a dead god, and a civilization about to sublime from the galaxy, this book roundup spans the gamut. Includes Where Men Win Glory, Wild, Inside the Box, The Black Box, Three Parts Dead, Red Country, and The Hydrogen Sonata.
Springsteen gives a concert in Phoenix. It’s fantastic.