thorfinn: <user name="seedy_girl"> and <user name="thorfinn"> (Default)
[personal profile] thorfinn

O Noes, the Instagram Sky Is Falling...

So, the latest buzz about the traps is that Instagram is about add this (text from the iOS app) to it's Terms of Service :

"Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you."

Note that photos (especially ones taken on smartphones) usually have geographic location metadata attached, by the way. This is essentially the same thing that happens on Facebook with "So and So likes Company Page X", etc. If you use Instagram, you may or may not be concerned by this change of Terms. I already wasn't and still won't be uploading anything to Instagram that isn't intended for public usage, and mostly only have a username because I like to grab usernames, so it doesn't bug me specifically.

The whole situation boils down to this: if you are not paying for the service, you are not the customer. Whoever is paying for the service is the customer - in the case of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Youtube, that's the advertisers. Don't expect the service provider to do things that are in your interest. They will do whatever is necessary to keep you interested so that they can serve their customer (the advertisers) - this is not the same thing as doing things that are in your interest.

And if anyone is still wondering why Facebook paid USD1billion to buy Instagram, this is precisely why - one of the biggest features that keeps users on Facebook is photos, and Instagram was the only service so far that actually successfully took users away from FB. That's a cheap price to pay for a defensive manoeuvre that removes your only competitor. (And no, G+ isn't a competitor. It has some different features that some people like, but nothing that actually really competes with FB head on and wins.)

So what?

It's all about the Business Models, IMO: User Pays > Freemium > Open Source Self Supported > Ad Supported.

So, nothing too significant, really. Just something to bear in mind whenever using an Ad Supported service (and note that this includes free-to-air television, news sites, etc), that you are not the customer, and have only small a ability to influence the service to provide what you truly want.

In the case of Freemium services, you are still the customer, in that what you're getting is a loss-leader to try and get you or others like you to pay for the more expensive parts of the service. And if you do choose to pay, you have more influence.

The other "free" alternative kicking around is "open source" software (e.g. roll your own wordpress installation on a web hosting service), but the general caveats with "open source" type services are that: firstly, there's a lot of self-support involved; secondly, the "paying customers" are the developer(s), whose interests often do not align with those of non-technical humans. In some cases you find that there's a mix between Freemium and Open Source, this can be a good way to go for everyone.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-18 06:16 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I find the terms & conditions of such things to be so long and drawn out that I just avoid the service; I'm not sure what the copyright situation is and I'm not prepared to seek legal advice. Last thing I want to do is assign unlimited use to a random advertising outfit.

That said, I'm not sure how enforceable these things are - last time I saw an upgrade on an iPad, it was 36 pages of contract. Not sure you can reasonably expect people to read all that.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-18 06:17 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
(despite logging in with openid, that comment turned up as "(Anonymous)")

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-18 22:18 (UTC)
bens_dad: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bens_dad
... this includes free-to-air television, news sites ...

I'm reminded how pleased I am to have the BBC.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-18 23:31 (UTC)
tcpip: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tcpip
Original quote here:

"If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold."

Although in some cases I would say
"If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the worker producing content without being paid."

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-19 00:13 (UTC)
tcpip: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tcpip
Yes, apparently Andrew Lewis coined the phrase..

A labour theory of value on freemium products is, well, just begging for it.

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