Nothing is free

Oct 02, 2014 · 3 min read

Nothing is free -- Made In Helmikuu

We want our web free. But not only free, we want it ad free. Besides getting to use Facebook, Twitter and other services for free they are supposed not to serve ads to fund their services either. The new "Facebook killer" Ello (which actually is more like Twitter than Facebook, but hey, let's call them all Facebook killers for a good measure) has gained notice of being supposedly ad-free. The site has a statement on the front which boasts the joyous message of their clients not being the product sold to advertisers. Under the statement are two buttons asking if you agree or disagree of not being a product. When you disagree it sends you to Facebook's privacy policy. Ello's own privacy policy isn't so pure and beautiful either. It says they may share your information in future with affiliates and other third parties. In other words your data is as everywhere else the product and the currency. I do understand, they must get the money to run the service from somewhere. We don't unfortunately live in some sort of perfectly balanced non-capitalist utopia.

Because the human kind hasn't yet reached the point where societies aren't working with money and possession nothing is free. Running a website has it's costs. Hosting, domains and everything else costs. Creating the content takes time and however a cliché it is, time is money. Creating a website doesn't really happen by pushing a button. At least when you do it properly it takes lots of time and effort to design and build a site, even the simplest one. Anyone who has ever wrote a quality blog post knows it takes hours, or sometimes even days to polish it to it's best. Finding and squashing bugs and fixing and making things better takes time. Thus there's no such thing as a free website. The costs get higher more the traffic and users there are, since it all raises the price of the server usage, data transferring and more. More people there are roaming around the site the more problems to fix will surface.

I am against the usage of ad blocking. I understand that some sites which are riddled with ads are annoying and hard to use, but that is the cost of "free". Free must be paid with something. When you are not actually paying for it with your money, you will pay for it in other ways, such as seeing the ads and perhaps even clicking them. When you are not ready to pay, your data becomes currency. Besides those who use ad blocking and have advertisement on their sites or work at ad paid site are being kind of hypocrites.

Native advertising, which usually means blog posts or other articles which look like any other post but are paid content, is getting more and more popular. Part of the reason is this strange and in my opinion unfounded hatred for the more regular advertisement. Sure I think many ads suck, but native advertisement sucks even more. It's sneaky. Yet I understand it too. Where else does the money come? Perhaps it falls down from the sky!

The talk about advertisement and selling has gotten so infected many sites avoid admitting the truth. Even Facebook, infamous of advertising, is calling it often something else. Ads become promotions or boosting your posts. Ello folks rather tell they will share your data with affiliates than say they sell your data to advertisers. They even use this sort of rhetorics as a selling point and many go for it. In reality it's all about advertisement and selling your data. There must be income, or else all the sites will die and go away. Where will you then share your images of food and cats or baby news?

I'm not talking here about getting rich and fat. The websites are run by people and people must eat. Also having a home is a nice thing. This doesn't mean everyone has to be a millionaire, but getting paid for all the work you've done is always a good thing. Don't you want to get paid for your work and effort? That's why nothing in web is and should be free, as long as everything else is not free either.

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Thank you for reading Nothing is free. I have closed the comments for now, but I welcome you to write your response to your own blog, or to voice them at Twitter or Facebook. In case you wrote your response on your blog, do let me know so that I can read it and possibly link to it from this post.

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Hei, I'm Mervi!

An artist, geek girl, marketer, and business coach, devoted to help you to be undeniable.

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