If You’re not Paying for a Service, You’re not the Consumer, You’re the Product Being Sold

If you’re not paying for a service, you’re not the consumer, you’re the product being sold

This is a classic quote by Andrew Lewis, online better known as blue_beetle. It’s worth thinking about in this age of free, we may feel like we are the consumer and have the power that come with it, but it is more correct to think of the users of the free online services as the raw material that cloud companies refine and sell to the real buyers, the advertisers. This is of course nothing new and certainly not a business model unique to the internet, it has been used with great successby commercial television for more than half a century. The difference is that we don’t see ourselves as empowered consumers as the eleventh season of Family Guy plays in the background while we do the laundry.

DISCLAIMER: I am a huge fan of Family Guy. I also use free online services on a daily basis. No prejudice.