Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 19th Dec 2012 21:23 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y Derek Powazek exposes the meaninglessness of the already overused tripe 'If you're not paying for the product, you are the product'. "But we should not assume that, just because we pay a company they'll treat us better, or that if we're not paying that the company is allowed to treat us like shit. Reality is just more complicated than that. What matters is how companies demonstrate their respect for their customers. We should hold their feet to the fire when they demonstrate a lack of respect. And we should all stop saying, 'if you're not paying for the product, you are the product', because it doesn't really mean anything, it excuses the behavior of bad companies, and it makes you sound kind of like a stoner looking at their hand for the first time." Nailed it.
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There is a reason why we use that line ...
by MacTO on Wed 19th Dec 2012 22:21 UTC
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It isn't meant as an excuse. It is meant to describe to people what is actually happening in a way that they understand.

And yes, many of us understand that it isn't always true. It is a bad idea to pay for a service that you can get for free because it is possible for a company to sell even more information about you. Likewise there are many companies that will give stuff away for altruistic or selfish reasons, but will never treat you as the product.

Still, some of the most successful online companies out there are using you as a product. People need to know that, so the over simplification will persist.

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