Every Free Platform Is Costing You — Just Not In A Way That You Value (For Now) [3 of 3]

In Business & Entrepreneurship
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I took one session of summer classes in college, classes that were 2 hours-long, twice-per-week marathon sessions in which we jammed 4 months of learning into six weeks. 

Once class was Economics. I remember one thing from the class that the professor said over and over again. 

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” 

You think YouTube and Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat and the rest are free? 

They’re not free. 

Think about it logically. It costs millions of dollars in man hours and salaries and bandwidth to make, run and maintain any of these platforms. And you think they just give it to you free, out of kindness and charity? 


Yeah, they have ads. That’s how they make money. 

But why? Because so many people use YouTube or Instagram, it just makes sense for companies to advertise where the eyeballs are, right? 

Well, yeah. But inconveniencing you for 30 seconds of every video view isn’t gonna make $16 Billion. 

It’s what the advertisers know about you that’s worth the money. 

They know who you are, who you’re friends with, what you like, where you go, who you voted for, what you search for, what hashtags you’re interested in, and about 1,000 additional data points that allow them to make predictions about everything that they don’t know (ie, that you haven’t yet told them by posting it online or doing it electronically, such as making a purchase). 

That info is what makes the platform valuable to advertisers: they can post highly-targeted ads to the right people at the right times. 

And each platform (such as Facebook or YouTube) can charge a premium for ad space because of this, their most valuable product: your privacy. 

Have you ever texted someone about a product, idea or geographical location and then seen ads for that same thing you’d mentioned in text? 

It will be happening more and more often. 

Every time you pick up that phone, type anything in that search bar, make a purchase and give your email or phone number to get the receipt, you’re being watched. Tracked, entered into a spreadsheet that’s fed to a computer that learns more and more about your habits. It knows more about you than you know about you. 

How is that? 

Because humans forget things and remember situations inaccurately. Computers don’t make those kinds of mistakes. Which means, they know what you’ll do even before you know what you’ll do. 

And they charge brands for the right to advertise their stuff to their users. 

THEIR users. Not your users. 

WE are YouTube and Instagram and Facebook’s customers. Even if you’ve never used your credit card there. They have your data, your habits, your history— and that of everyone you know. They know you’re reading this right now. They’re watching, waiting and logging.  And charging for every piece of data they collect. 

I’ve said on my podcast that, within the next 20 years, the public will come out in force against all the data these companies have collected from us and are now using to leverage us for their own gain. Right now, we (myself included) are all too happy to use these “free” platforms that aren’t charging us money. 

But remember: ain’t no free lunches. 

Speaking of business, I suggest you read The Business Bundle, which is 3 of my books on sales and communication. You can get the bundle here: http://WorkOnMyGame.com/Biz 


-Dre Baldwin 

Remember: You’re Just One Bold Move Away…