Monday 1 December 2008

The beginning of the end of free Social Networking

Maybe the title of this post should be something like "someone has worked out how to make a buck out of social networking and it is likely to bring it all down around our ears".
What has prompted this train of thought is a recent foray onto Linkedin. After logging in, the web site usefully told me that 16 people had recently viewed my profile. When I searched for more details, it then, in a non useful manner, told me that "somebody in a Law firm in South Brisbane" had viewed my profile. If I upgraded my (free) account I could find out who. Well I had a look at the upgrade options and they wanted AUS$ 19.95 per month to show me these viewers. Well quite frankly Linkedin is not worth $240 per year to me. So I think that Linkedin may soon fall off the radar for me.
It reminds me of one of my first forays into the world of the internet. I found a site that offered "free e-mail addresses for life". I duly registered and was born. (Don't bother sending to that address it is now defunct.) This account worked well for a couple of years. Then they introduced paid e-mail accounts with different domain names. Then they started adding adverts to the bottom of e-mails that I sent, and I could pay to have them removed. Then the advertising got so over the top that a free e-mail address for life was not worth the effort. So that went also.
I don't mind paying for premium services, if they are useful and represent value. But I will be choosy about where I register and what Social Networking sites I use. What annoys me most is the erosion of features and functionality that was originally free. By paying more you can get the same services, in many cases more.
Hey this is the same technique that drug pushers use, get someone hooked and then jack up the prices. I am not the first to comment on the degradation of the Internet as the Corporate's and Entrepreneurs move in and try to make a profit off it. No doubt I won't be the last. Neither am I "with it" enough to fully understand how to use Social Networking, you should hear me swearing at Facebook, "what is the benefit in Poking someone?". So I guess that I will sign off here and see how much it costs to log onto MySpace.
the Bludger