Instagram unleashes a thousand words
The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal invoked what might be the most significant philosophical concept of the digital age: why you should want to pay for software and services. (Because if you don’t, you are the product.) “Truly, the only way to get around the privacy problems inherent in advertising-supported social networks is to pay for services that we value,” Madrigal wrote. “It’s amazing what power we gain in becoming paying customers instead of the product being sold.”
Co-founder Kevin Systrom is fully owning Instagram’s woes, but it’s all about the Facebook Effect: The massive social network paid almost $1 billion for Instagram. In part it was a defensive move to protect its status as the biggest photo-sharing site in the world from a popular competitor. But mostly it was data strip-mining. Facebook’s revenue comes from the scale of information it can monetise, so any great pool of information is attractive. The danger is in maintaining a delicate balance of coming up with a sustainable business plan without alienating the hordes whose allegiance is the only reason you are valuable. Asking members to pay
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