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
MacTO
Member since:
2006-09-21

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.

Reply Score: 3

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

It isn't meant as an excuse. It is meant to describe to people what is actually happening in a way that they understand.


But it is also patently untrue on MANY levels. It gives the false impression that if you pay for a service, then the company isn't doing you rotten. But as we have seen with cell phone companies and the carrier iq debacle, this is not the case.

What we really need to do is start educating people that ANYTHING you put on the internet without strong encryption is public, regardless of what the privacy policies say. And even if you post it anonymously, it can almost always be traced back to you. Is this right, though? Shouldn't we have a right to privacy? Well, you wouldn't leave $500 in the front seat of your car unlocked, and then complain that somebody shouldn't have stolen it, even if they really shouldn't have. The point is that they can, and they will.

It's time to start using some common sense, and realize that ALL companies can and probably will sell your data/personal info to the highest bidder. And if you think we can just pass a law to stop it, you're dellusional. Laws haven't done a really good job of stopping people from sharing copyrighted material, and there's usually not even any money involved in that. It's like I said in another post - the internet makes anything shareable, whether you want it to or not, so we might as well learn to deal with this new reality, instead of pissing into the wind and trying to stop the inevitable.

Edited 2012-12-20 02:51 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 7

B. Janssen Member since:
2006-10-11

Right on! We need to understand that "not paying for a product" is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for being a product.

We also need to understand what "being a product" actually means. Not much, if you read TFA.

Reply Parent Score: 5