What is the value of your privacy?

Posted on by

For value for money it is hard to top Facebook. It costs nothing and in return you can host photos and videos, communicate with people all over the world, consume vast amounts of content, create groups and participate in various communities. To create and host something similar yourself would cost a lot of time and money.

Free sites and services like Facebook, YouTube, and Google Search still have to pay their developers, provide hosting, repay investors and generate revenue to keep it all going. Traffic, registered users and great PR do not pay the bills by themselves; at some point cash needs to be involved. This is where the interests of those providing the services and those using them diverge.

Free at a price

There will always be a cost to the end user, and if it is not cash it will be something else. Lack of technical support, poor documentation, slow bug fixes, compromised privacy and exposure to advertising are a few ways operating costs are managed and paid for. Some paid services suffer some of these issues as well, but they are not the norm.

When the user pays, there is a clear cost in losing them and therefore higher expectations of service. When the service is free and the costs are paid for by advertisers and investors, creating value for them is important for the business. The advertising model is often the first choice for generating revenue and targeted traffic or impressions, and richer forms of display advertising become more important. When the user pays, creating value for them becomes important to the business.

Facebook appears to be going through this process now. A lot of the recent changes seem to create more value for advertisers than for some segments of their community. With Facebook being such a dominating presence, this is generating a lot of discussion. With all this focus on user control over data and experience, Diaspora could not have begun development at a better time.

Will you pay?

Diaspora as a social media platform will be interesting, and potentially very disruptive to this space. It looks easily accessible for many users, either through Turnkey or individually installed and operated servers. As a distributed network of easily installed and managed ‘Seeds’ across a variety of servers, Diaspora can be compared to WordPress. Based on the offers on Kickstart for funding, it seems that while the software will be free, access to Turnkey servers and technical support will cost money.

Diaspora at the very least will place a dollar value on privacy and control over your social media profiles, and it will ask one other question: Will you pay for access to a social media platform, either through hosting or a Turnkey server?

One response to “What is the value of your privacy?”

  1. […] like Google.com, Facebook.com and Last.fm. Making the advertiser pay can mean compromises to the user’s experience and privacy, but a user pays model will lower subscription rates and the size of the user […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *