Cover image by Sharon McCutcheon
We live in a capitalistic society, we need to work and get paid in order to survive. Developers make no exception, we need to pay bills and we can’t afford to offer free stuff to people. None the less, some people can’t afford to subscribe to the multitude of services out there: most of the times, Netflix and Amazon Prime are already enough.
Thus it is no surprise that businesses need to find a way to create revenues, and the simplest—not easiest, simplest—way to do so is through advertising. It is not cool, it is not ethic sometimes, but it works.
And as far as people continue to say that there are alternatives to advertising, in order to sustain an Internet business: I haven’t seen one in action, yet.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love to use services without feasting my data to advertisers but sometimes it just is not possible.
Given that the list of services we use is likely to expand, our expenses would increase each month if we had to pay it all in money.
Can a business work out an alternative?
Sure, providing two choices for its users: either you pay with your money or you agree to use your data for advertising purposes.
Surely, you could argue that some services don’t need to sell your data and neither they require a subscription.
Well, these kinds of services either are still building a user base which they'll eventually capitalize on, or they are backed by golden-heart millionaires, non-profit organizations, and companies which runs other profitable businesses.
- Telegram: backed by Pavel Durov, Russian entrepreneur whose net worth is about $1.7 billion (2019).
- WhatsApp: backed by Facebook, which closed the last quarter with $13 billion in revenues.
- Firefox: backed by Mozilla Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that receives donations from its users and other tech companies.
- Unsplash: started as Tumblr blog by a company named Crew near to bankruptcy. Fortunately, Unsplash became popular, bringing notoriety and clients to the company, and eventually, Dribbble acquired them.
I can't avoid but reflect on the fact that these "problems" are limited to our "wealthy" society. Under-developed countries don’t care about Facebook data issues or Netflix subscription: they have much more important problems to face and to worry about.
Nonetheless, we have the privilege to live in a more superficial and materialistic society, where a company like Facebook can make $13 billion using users' data.
In the meanwhile, its users fight over Trump and play personality quizzes.
And you, what is your personal opinion? Let me know in the comments section!