$5 Means We're Not the Product November 23, 2010 11:05 AM   Subscribe

August Metafilter thread "User-driven Discontent" is featured today on Lifehacker.

blue_beetle's comment "If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold" was pulled as the main quote.
posted by amicamentis to MetaFilter-Related at 11:05 AM (38 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Ah, that explains the resurgence of tweets about that today.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:06 AM on November 23, 2010


The semicolon in the title doesn't bother me.
posted by katillathehun at 11:09 AM on November 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it's weird how they just found it today, it made the twitter rounds this past summer like crazy for a week or so.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:10 AM on November 23, 2010


(Well, now that I've said that, I can't stop LOOKING AT IT.)
posted by katillathehun at 11:11 AM on November 23, 2010


It's a good comment but it's at least 20 years old from when I heard it used to describe television.
posted by GuyZero at 11:25 AM on November 23, 2010


It's a good comment but it's at least 250 years old from when I heard it used to describe messenger pigeons.
posted by Think_Long at 11:43 AM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


We sort of are the product, though, doesn't mefi make most of it's money off ads? Not that I have a problem with that. At all.
posted by NoraReed at 11:45 AM on November 23, 2010


Soylent Green is, indeed, mefites.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:48 AM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one who twitches at the elision of "you're not the customer"? It makes the semi-colon improper usage.
posted by Plutor at 11:49 AM on November 23, 2010


Apparently not, the first commenter on Lifehacker also doesn't like it. Victory?
posted by Plutor at 11:50 AM on November 23, 2010


1) It's amusing that Fitzpatrick writes "This week as you scour the internet and stores for holiday deals, keep in mind that when you're not paying with cash you're paying with your personal information." and there's a GIANT LIFEHACKER DEAL WEEK L@@K$$ banner right above. It goes right back to the same article (presumably the series is about not getting scammed during the high pressure sales period) , but dang if it doesn't look like a lot of Big Sale! banners all over the internet.

2) Read when's comment in the lifehacker article.
posted by boo_radley at 11:54 AM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


/me sits and waits for his residual check.
posted by octothorpe at 11:54 AM on November 23, 2010


It's a good comment but it's at least 1 billion years old from when I heard it used to describe sexual reproduction.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:54 AM on November 23, 2010


The semicolon in the title doesn't bother me.

In the land of the comma splice, the semicolon is king.
posted by bonehead at 12:01 PM on November 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have no problem with blue_beetle's usage of said semicolon; I do have a problem with people always focusing too heavily on the semicolon, and not the true villain--the double-dash!
posted by not_on_display at 12:03 PM on November 23, 2010


Is this where I pickup my check?

(Alternate translation for Commonwealth Countries: "Is there where I pickup my cheque?")
posted by blue_beetle at 12:04 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I tell this to people going into soup kitchens, too.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:07 PM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hate that comment. It assumes that all relationships must be predator/prey. I'm not paying for my wife's love. I didn't pay for this copy of Debian. I didn't pay for that guy on the commute this morning to let me cut ahead of him. And so forth. It doesn't even apply to all *websites*. My blog (such as it is) doesn't require require users to pay for anything *and* I don't have any ads or collect any information.
posted by DU at 12:09 PM on November 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


DU: "My blog (such as it is) doesn't require require users to pay for anything *and* I don't have any ads or collect any information."

It's just one long ad for your professional and artistic services =)
posted by pwnguin at 12:21 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a good comment but it's at least 13 billion years old from when I heard it used to describe the genesis of the universe.
posted by found missing at 12:22 PM on November 23, 2010


Correction to the title: Just because you're paying for it doesn't mean you're not also the product. That's one o' them logical fallacies you got thar.

Correction to blue_beetle's comment: "pick up" should be two words.
posted by Eideteker at 12:22 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe I should elaborate. The comment in question was in a thread about the Digg redesign where many people were complaining that Digg had lost its way and wasn't listening to its "customers". My comment was intended to point out that just because we think we're customers, doesn't mean we are. Sometimes we're the product, sometimes we're the customer, and sometimes there's no commercial relationship at all. No one owes you anything, especially if you have no financial stake in the enterprise. Just because you want Digg/Metafilter/Apple/Whoever to act in a certain way, doesn't mean you should expect them to listen. This has no application in personal relationships.

I mean, I appreciate the repetition of the quote, but there's a bigger context to it. That's all.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:24 PM on November 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


The semicolon in the title doesn't bother me.

Me neither; it's the If at the beginning that's fucking things up.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:25 PM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Correction to blue_beetle's comment: "pick up" should be two words.

Shows what you know!

pickup v. To sign a document with the skidmarks of a half-ton truck.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:30 PM on November 23, 2010


White underwear is a mistake, for sure.

I tried to turn the readers of my blog into product but after a couple of humiliating $2 months, I gave up.
posted by maxwelton at 1:21 PM on November 23, 2010


(It would have been easier just to ask my mom for the $2.)
posted by maxwelton at 1:21 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Turns out the Digg just fired 1/3 of their staff. (Sorry the link isn't directly to the article, it's the latest news item there. The actual article tried to download an unknown file to my computer, so maybe don't click on it.)
posted by stoneweaver at 2:20 PM on November 23, 2010


This thread prompted me to try my once-a-month logging in to Digg to see what's changed and whether it's worth hanging out. Still doesn't seem to be. They're still trying to get me to "follow" other users when I log in; you still can't see an "upcoming" link unless at least two people have Digged (Dugg?) it; they did apparently bring back "bury," but I'm not at all clear that it functions the way it used to (or what difference it actually makes, and whether this means those dreaded "bury brigades" are going to come back and wreak havoc again); and they still have all these "sponsored posts" interspersed with the real ones. There doesn't even seem to be a simple way for me to see my own profile (as others see it, not my settings) and submissions short of going to the address bar and typing "digg.com/myusername" up there. Meeeeeeh. (That story about them slashing their staff is from last month.)

Meanwhile, I grow ever fonder of Reddit.
posted by Gator at 2:37 PM on November 23, 2010


stoneweaver: "Turns out the Digg just fired 1/3 of their staff. (Sorry the link isn't directly to the article, it's the latest news item there. The actual article tried to download an unknown file to my computer, so maybe don't click on it.)"

It's a WAP file, a format from long agooooooo

Here's the real thing.
posted by boo_radley at 4:12 PM on November 23, 2010


To follow up on what Gator said, they also haven't restored the years of archived content that were wiped in the update (which they promised to do).

Worse, they haven't done a damn thing about the whole "Digg Patriots" issue, even after the huge, embarrassing flare-up it caused. Despite Digg being given a complete archive of all of their postings, every one of the "DPs" still have their accounts and are still (successfully) spamming the same crap. In fact, emboldened by the utter lack of consequences, they've resurrected their old Yahoo group and set up new sites to coordinate their actions on Digg and elsewhere.

I'm just glad Digg is paying a price for this idiocy. Most of their major traffic stats were cut in half immediately after the update, and the stories on their front page struggle to surpass 100 votes when before they routinely reached into the multiple 1000s.

Good riddance, I say. I'm done with them.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:15 PM on November 23, 2010


"$5 Means We're Not the Product"

No no, you don't understand, our luminous brilliance, snark, and equanimity is the product being sold to new users as well as the bait which attracts viewers whose eyes are sold to our fantastic advertisers.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:29 PM on November 23, 2010


Actually we're just selling your kidneys on the black market, which you would know already if you had read the damned FAQ. It's right next to the bathtub full of ice. Christ.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:48 PM on November 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I am the product and I consume myself constantly. Until the chafing starts.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 6:14 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The semicolon in the title doesn't bother me

That makes one of us. Or should I have said: That makes; One of us?
posted by Forktine at 7:45 PM on November 23, 2010


Actually we're just selling your kidneys on the black market, which you would know already if you had read the damned FAQ. It's right next to the bathtub full of ice. Christ.

Ha! jokes on you, sucker. I'm just using you guys for the ice. I got these kidneys for free. The store wants to charge me for ice.
posted by juv3nal at 2:08 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


boo_radley is right; everyone should read when's comment.

As a consultant, I wrote a whitepaper for $INSURANCE_COMPANY that discussed using social network data to refine their premium calculation metrics. The essence of it was that people by themselves do not give an adequate portayal of the risk they represent, as the high-payout-low-occurrence events simply do not occur all that often in a person's life so they are hard to accurately insure against, but knowing who their friends are helps immensely.

Within that person's *group of friends*, an order of magnitude more accurate assessment of their risk can be made. If your friend gets a DUI, your apparent health and auto insurance risk goes up because you're more likely to drink and drive yourself even if you haven't been caught yet. If your friend gets a drug arrest, your homeowner's insurance risk goes up because you're more likely to be the victim of a breakin or assault.

posted by joedan at 6:21 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a good comment, but it's about 68a3df rational time units old from when I encountered it in the pre-Big-Bang communal mind singularity, having been used to describe membership in the Cabal.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:15 PM on November 24, 2010


Saw it referenced again on Talking Points Memo today
posted by jpdoane at 8:03 AM on December 13, 2010


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