The business model for many companies online, is the so-called “free” model. Basically, the products and services are “free”, but in exchange, the companies offering the services collect and keep users’ data. Advertising is the main source of revenue for such free business models. Even if users choose to migrate to other companies, it is unclear as to what happens to users’ data. The implications of this can be depressing if one puts it into perspective.
Andrew Keen, author of a book called “The Internet is Not the Answer” argues that if google was a paid service, much like Spotify, he would be more than happy to pay as long as they wouldn’t collect data about him. He strongly argues that the model of giving away free stuff has corrupted everything else.
He claims, that he would want to see Google charge for their services.
” … I want to see Google charge for their services and I think that they could still be an incredibly viable company. After all, what’s wrong with paying for stuff?”
He further argues
“I don’t have a Facebook account. Not because Facebook’s a bad product. In some way I think it’s creepy but only because of their data practices. If the Facebook product was offered for $10 or $15 a month or whatever the price was like Spotify is it would be a much more attractive model.”
Which brings us to the question — if Google, Facebook, Twitter were paid services and didn’t collect data about users, would you be willing to pay to access their products and services?