If time is money then everything we do has a value that can be translated into money. It’s math. It’s money. It’s an exchange of value no different than giving money to a company for a product or service.
Take Google and Facebook, and while we’re at it, let’s toss Apple into the mix. Why Apple? Because everything bad seems to revolve around Apple. Google gives users free access to a variety of applications in exchange for personal information. The search engine giant knows which websites we visit and when. Google tracks us while we’re online and uses all the information it gathers to improve its core business. Advertising.
Facebook is not much different, though somewhat less pervasive. Facebook gives users free access to a social media network that allows them to connect to people all over the world. In exchange for that privilege, the social network gathers personal information and uses that to improve their core business. Advertising.
See the similarities?
Google and Facebook make money by culling information from users and selling advertising.
How does Apple fit into this scheme? Apple is an old fashioned company. It makes money by selling hardware which is differentiated by software; specifically, iOS, macOS, and various included applications. Yes, Apple tracks customers, too, but not to the extent of Google and Facebook; what information Apple gathers from customers is less invasive and anonymized anyway.
We are only valuable to Apple when we buy and use a piece of hardware. Apple has various services we can buy or subscribe to but all integrate into the hardware scheme.
As the economy stands today Apple has a problem. Sales of every product have been mostly flat for a few years, and may even have taken a drop in recent months. How do we know? Look at all the iPhone, iPad, and Mac sales, discounts, and bundled promotions. Apple doesn’t do that so much when sales are good, but does it quickly when sales are slower than expected.
I think sales are slower than expected.
What about Google and Facebook? For the most part, no hardware transaction is involved, but many of us are more careful about where and when we browse the interwebs. Facebook has lost tens of millions of users, too, thanks to growing concerns about privacy.
Since what Google and Facebook give to users is free, if they want us to use their products more then there needs to be an incentive.
I think Google and Facebook should pay users. Apple is so rich it can afford to discount hardware and still be the industry’s profit leader.
There is precedent for such thinking. Google owns YouTube and pays so-called YouTubers whose videos get many tens of millions of viewers; which results in more advertising, which increases revenue and profits. Google also pays billions to Apple to make Google the default search engine on Safari. Hundreds of millions are paid to Mozilla for a similar position on the Firefox browser. If Google wants more users then they need to pay the users. I’m a user. Pay me, Google.
Facebook has a similar issue but no YouTube revenue stream. So, Facebook should pay users based on a mix of Followers and Likes; those on Facebook that users follow, and the number of followers to each Facebook user. Google and Facebook are enormously rich companies and can afford to share the wealth with prime users.
Google and Facebook should pay us.