In this episode we put some meat behind Richie’s claim that free is a big lie and paid is honest. Why? Because prenatal vitamins from Target, privacy, motivation behind ads, and reasons. Up next is part 2 of our 2 part series on greed.
Free is a Lie. Paid is Honest.
Like any rule, there are some exceptions. But there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Related: The Free Rider Problem
Now I’m not saying be skeptical about everything that’s free; because you can get free sometimes. But, if there is no paid offer in sight; if there’s nothing that shows you why this is being supported or why you are deserving of this free thing, then you might want to be a little skeptical.
For example, there are a lot of people – many of which I follow – that offer free things (whether it’d be coaching programs, blog help, etc…) but they also have paid offers out there that support what they do.
Disclaimer: If you are somebody listening that provides your audience something for free, I’m not villainizing you. I think what you’re doing is good – as long as you’re being honest about it.
The Problem with Free
The real problem I have with free is that there’s a lot of online stuff that we take for granted. Facebook is one of them. It sometimes slips under the radar because everyone’s on it and it is kind of like a big necessary evil. There’s a lot of nice things about Facebook. But, I don’t think people realize how much privacy they give up when they do certain things.
Facebook is free because they sell your information to Ad companies. They sell a lot more information than most people probably realize. People put a lot of very personal stuff on Facebook. All that data gets passed around the Web and it’s kinda scary. I don’t think many people care about that type of stuff – until it matters.
The Problem with Ads
People have mentioned to us why don’t we do Ad-based. Well, we have taken pretty strong stance on Ads. Worst part about ads is when you’re scrolling through stuff and a lot of them are distracting. Some of them are even animated now and those are really annoying because I’m trying to do something and they’re wasting my time. I don’t like things wasting my time because I’m being greedy for my time.
We also did a whole episode on security. You can actually get computer viruses from ads that exploit vulnerabilities. The person serving up the ads wouldn’t have any knowledge of that happening at all – and I would feel terrible if I’m running a website that serves up ads that happens to have malicious content because my Ad provider who is paying me to put ads on my website doesn’t care about the quality or the content of the ads that they’re serving up. It would be terrible if a bunch of people that I care about who are using my site got infected by some malware that does nasty stuff.
Related: Tools to Keep You Safe Online
It’s really about Privacy. You don’t realize how much information you might actually be giving up.
Who remembers this story about Target?
Target was marketing prenatal vitamins to a teenager. Her father then got these ads and went to the store and yelled at the manager for doing so. Father:"How could you possibly be targeting my daughter with prenatal vitamins? This is awful!" Turns out the daughter was pregnant. Target knew it because of all the different data that they collected.
I have read that same type of thing long before this happened. I have read that based on the data that these stores have, they know it’s you. So when you change your habits a little bit, they can pick up on things through data analysis. They can tell you might be pregnant, for example. They pick up on that stuff and they will market you as such.
That’s the type of thing that you don’t realize that’s happening until it smacks you in the face.
Why Marmalead is Ad-free
If we went Ad-based, and serve up ads within the app where we get paid when you click them or view them – all of a sudden the incentive changes. It changes from making sure you get the most effective and efficient use of your time (even if you come by very briefly) – as long as you’re getting everything you need, that should be the goal. Problem is, if we start serving ads, all of a sudden we have a built-in incentive to waste your time all day.
Have you ever been on articles on the web where they have a slideshow-like format? They present it to you and after a paragraph into it you see something like “click here for page 2” only to realize it’s like 8 pages long?
They do that for ads. They do that because they can put more ads on the page. You’re going to a separate page and that is a whole lot of opportunity to throw more ad impressions out there. They are sacrificing a good pleasant reading experience for their interest of getting you to see more ads and getting you into more opportunities into clicking those ads.
It drives me insane. They are stealing your time. You think it’s free, but think about it again because that time you spent on Facebook – and all it’s engineerings to keep you engaged and the next thing you know, half of your day is gone. What ends up happening is that you still have stuff to do. So what you end up doing is you end up missing dinner with your family, you end up missing the little league games, you end up with that kind of stuff. It’s not free, they stole the amount of money that keeps you away from doing those things you actually love.
The takeaway is people need to be more cognizant of their time. Be more aware of where their time is going and what is in it for the person who has you spending this time.
So why is Etsy Jam free?
It’s very transparent. It’s very clear. The offer is simply paying subscription to Marmalead because IT makes it possible.
The takeaway in everything that's free is transparency, privacy and knowing the cost. There's always cost to everything, so know the real cost.
The Original Intent of Etsy Jam
I talked to people who feel the same way as I do about this too. But I would love to listen to audiobooks while I work. The problem is, I can’t focus on both things. I’m either ignoring my audiobook or I’m ignoring my work. I can’t do both but I still wanna listen to something while I work. Sometimes it’s not music you want to listen to but more of a feeling that someone else is around. This is especially true when you work at home.
The original intent of Etsy Jam is that what if we create a podcast that people just put on and don’t have to necessary worry about missing out on anything? You might zone out for 10 minutes straight but you don’t have to worry about missing anything important. Sometimes maybe what you need is a companion, or some background noise while you carry on with your work.
Along those same lines, if you are looking for something to listen to that isn’t us, we want you to meet Coffitivity. Coffitivity is a sweet online tool that you’d use if you want some background noise. It’s a website you can go to and they have these different environments that you can pick from; like a coffee shop, a restaurant, a college campus etc… and it’s just background noise. It just loops and you can listen to it at whatever volume you want or what I like to do is mix it with Pandora so it feels more like I am in a coffee shop.