I have previously written about the adage “if you’re not paying for it, you are the product”, and struggled with how it applies to myself and this blog. To be sure, there are – at the very least – exceptions to this rule, that go both ways.
The exception to who or what the product is can be exemplified by this blog. I have previously written of how I view that adage as applying to the blog. The biggest difference from then until now is that I am no longer serving ads. As I wrote back then, I want to be clear about the product of the blog being what I write, and not you, dear reader.
The exception to not paying for it can be found in the fact that news outlets, that are increasingly adding paywalls to some or all of their content, are also serving ads (which often serve to distract from the content you are already paying for). Sure, you’re paying for it, but you are also quite clearly the product – a fact that can be readily observed by the amount of click-bait titles and listicles that are being pushed by supposedly serious news outlets.
The question, however, is whether or not the adage is true at all? This, I think, is what I struggled with back in 2015. I wasn’t able to come up with an argument that I accepted that the adage wasn’t true. Luckily, Troy Hunt has shown how much bullshit it is, exemplified by his service HIBP. The discussion of his non-financial motives struck true with me, and I wanted to ensure that it reaches my audience – limited as it is. Go on over to his blog and give it a read.
I will add that I find it offensive to have my motives questioned. I’m not saying that my motives for blogging is entirely – or even somewhat – altruistic. Instead, I am saying that the benefits aren’t financial. While I have, on occasion, benefited financially as a result of my blogging, it’s never been the sole cause of that benefit. Having volunteered with a number of organizations, and in a number of capacities, throughout my life, I can honestly say that monetary compensation simply hasn’t been the motivation.
Instead, the motivation has been to participate, to help others, and to aid the community or club to thrive. And sure, I get the warm and fuzzies from doing so, but that is a bonus, not the driving force behind it all.