If you can’t see the business model, you are the business model

Was sent this article from Wired over the weekend.

It talks about photographer Hana Jakrlova’s experiences inside a Prague brothel which offered the customer free sex if they consented to being filmed and streamed on the web.

A situation only mildly softened by the fact that one of the rooms used looked like an igloo, and had a huge polar bear toy in their too.

Jakrlova suggests that the brothel exemplifies an absurd example of “what is happening to us all in this internet age… there is an absurdity where some people have to have it online to have it become real or exciting”. Whilst this is true – I’ve certainly been guilty of constantly documenting my life through things like Foursquare or Instagram in the past – contrary to this I would argue it is more reminiscent of the way services in the digital space monetise their user base.

When something is free, it’s usually because the experience is being financed elsewhere or by other means. Facebook is the classic example. A free service to use, but they sell our data to advertisers. A fact that some, if not most, people are none too happy about. Advertisers too, have begun to realise this – as Edgerank is changed, the reach of organic posts declines – the hours and dollars invested into community management now sort of useless without the investment of further cash.

This is not a new point, but the article was a timely reminder that nothing, especially in this world, is free, and that if you cant see a business model, you probably are the business model.

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