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I'm getting very tired of hearing this. It's like we make up excuses for startups being dicks. There has to be a way to find business model that involves showing respect for your users and the content they're creating, while still making money on ads, offers, etc.

It also completely ignores the fact that paying customers get ripped off all the time, by the companies they pay money to. In the wider perspective, being a dick doesn't seem to correlate to receiving money from your user-base.

Here's an excellent text about it: http://powazek.com/posts/3229




There has to be a way to find business model that involves showing respect for your users and the content they're creating, while still making money on ads, offers, etc.

I agree with the first part but not the second. What if the best way to show respect for your users is not to pester them with ads and offers, but to let them pay you directly for the value you are giving them?


I think that's my biggest hangup with this. There was never a "Well, we're thinking about doing this with your photos, but we were wondering if you valued the service enough to pay for it instead?"

There would have still been outrage, but people pay to get rid of ads on services all the time.. particularly if they want to continue a streamlined experience. If not, they can tolerate the ads. But using my photos as ads? If I opt-in, sure. But I don't want that by default. I'd rather see something irrelevant than have my likeness potentially supporting a business I don't want to.


I think it's important to keep saying it so that the general population begins to understand it. Eventually it will trickle out. I don't think it has yet. So, while I agree with you that it's an old saying in our circles, your friend's sister may not realize it.


I'd like to see people become more aware of this sort of risk, but I don't think that slogan will take off outside geeky circles, and I don't think we want it to.

There are companies which - by most people's standards - quite reasonably make money from free services. Telling people that they're all stupid sheep for using Google isn't going to get much traction. We need to highlight real problems, like this move by Instagram.

Lots of us also work on open source software, in which case telling people not to trust anything that's free is shooting ourselves in the foot. I don't pay for Linux, Libreoffice or Firefox, but I'm not 'the product' there.


It's not really calling them stupid sheep, but rather a reminder that they are interacting with businesses and they should pause to think about the business model when they do that. It's really about educating, not name-calling.




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