We'd all rebel at a Facebook subscription fee, and possibly then start snail-mailing pictures of our cats to each other. But what happens if you can't charge your customers for your product? You have to turn the customers into the product.
This is actually someone's hand which they stole.
This is why Facebook's stance on privacy has evolved from "You're in total control of your information" to "You're in total control of your information, if you can figure out our arcane controls" to "Fuck you, it's our information now." Sure, you may not like Facebook profiting from that time you got drunk and confessed your crush on Princess Celestia, but what are you going to do about it? Sign up for Ello? Hahahaha.
Uber shares your information, too. If you connect your Uber account to a Starwood Preferred Guest account, you'll get bonus points in exchange for letting Starwood know everything about your driving habits. Forbes gave an example of how they profit from this -- if Uber routinely picks you up from a city's airport, you can bet you're going to start seeing lots of ads for Starwood hotels in that city.
"Currently at 'THAT REALLY NICE TOILET 10 BLOCKS FROM THE OFFICE'? There are (3) hotels there."
Then there's Google, because having a slogan of "Don't Be Evil" doesn't stand up in the face of "Oh, We Need to Make Money." Gmail scans your email for keywords and targets appropriate ads at you. So that one time you ordered a horse dildo as a "joke" will haunt you forever. That's the price you pay for a free service. Gmail is extraordinarily useful, but they aren't offering it to be good citizens. Ask the privacy lawsuits they've faced as their terms of service grow more and more inscrutable. Hey, remember when Google gave a bunch of info to the NSA and we all stopped using their services in disgust? No?
Now go look at Reddit's new sister site Upvoted, which is essentially "Stuff posted on Reddit presented in magazine format so that we can generate ad money." That's just a different way of profiting from their users' information. Because that's what every site has to do in the end: convince their users to give them money, profit from their users, or die.
Except for Cracked, of course. We fully plan to be buried alive with you instead.
Mark has a story collection and is on Twitter, which also has a terrible business model.
Psst ... want to give us feedback on the super-secret beta launch of the upcoming Cracked spinoff site, Braindrop? Well, simply follow us behind this curtain. Or, you know, click here: Braindrop.
For more apocalyptic visions of the Internet, check out 5 Reasons The Internet Could Die At Any Moment and 4 Unhealthy Mentalities The Internet Turned Into Movements.
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Did you know cats modeled their "meow" after the cries of human babies, just because they knew us humans care about that noise? Did you know dogs can read your mind (emotionally), and live in constant suspicion that you know where the good food is (you totally do)? In the next LIVE episode of the Cracked Podcast, host Jack O'Brien leads Cracked's team of pet-loving/fearing comedians through all the ways our dogs and cats are more powerful, creepy, and awesome than we ever could have imagined. Jack will be joined by Carmen Angelica, Dan O'Brien, Alex Schmidt, and Jake Weisman at the UCB Sunset Theatre on Wednesday, March 9, at 7 p.m. Purchase your tickets here!