When FREE Is Definitely Not: What Those Free Services Are Really Costing You

When most companies – and especially corporations – provide extremely desirable and advanced services without charging you it is definitely NOT out of the goodness of their hearts. You can be assured that there is always a profit motive – always. That is a given – the obvious truth; what is not so obvious is what the means of generating profit is.

In the past, the most common way the cost of anything we receive that is free in theory has been paid for is by advertising. Magazines and newspapers subsidize the cost of subscriptions with advertising. Local free publications provide the end user with a free copy which is actually paid for the ads they contain. Free to you; paid for by the advertiser. That has been the most common model.

Profit is one thing; freedom is another. Instead of paying for services with advertising we are now trading our privacy for computer services such as email and Web analytics. This is a very dangerous trade because our personal information is not being used only to better target advertising – although that IS what we are told. It is increasingly likely to be used to take away our last vestiges of freedom.

The majority of humans are quick to judge, easily swayed, and lack understanding of common logic faults. Combine those traits with an abundance of information and the potential for the innocent to be condemned, imprisoned, or worse is all too likely.

Here is a real life examples of assumptions of guilt made:

  • Drug dealers buy lots of plastic baggies; therefore, anyone who buys large quantities of plastic baggies is a drug dealer
  • Have you ever bought such common items as scouring pads, alcohol, cigarette lighters? What if you bought one or more of these items for someone else? What if a relative uses your phone number to buy them? What do these items indicate you could be? You may already be considered guilty and not even know why!
  • Before it hit the evening news how many knew that cold medicines are used for something else?
  • What other common items you buy have other uses you may not even know about?

Jumping to conclusions is highly dangerous to our liberty. Most people are only too happy to believe someone else is guilty based on superficial “evidence” and how it is presented. Many would instantly believe that someone IS a drug dealer because they buy lots of plastic baggies! Even if wiser heads come to your defense it may be too late to reverse the tide of public opinion.

Who else might buy lots of plastic baggies? How about someone having a bake sale? Or providing the snacks for children’s activities?  Or someone who gives out sandwiches to the homeless?


Montana Supreme Court Justice James C Nelson Warns 1984 Has Arrived:

“I don’t like living in Orwell’s 1984; but I do. And, absent the next extinction event or civil libertarians taking charge of the government (the former being more likely than the latter), the best we can do is try to keep Sam and the sub-Sams on a short leash.”





Know of any others? Please leave information and related links if any in comments.

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Gail Gardner

Small Businsss Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of GrowMap.com, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.