paying for online freedom

Back in 2007 I suggested that the first step to take in online sensemaking is to free your bookmarks. Social bookmarks reside online, not in your browser, so they can be accessed from multiple devices and easily shared. My own journey went from Furl, to Magnolia, to Delicious, and most recently to Diigo. Today I decided it was time to make another move — to Pinboard. This is a paid service and adds to several others that I now pay for, such as 1Password, Fastmail, Zoom, and Tweetbot.

Paying for online services makes for a healthier web, in my opinion. It means that service providers are not motivated to sell advertising and/or user tracking. A recent thread on Twitter by the founder of Pinboard gave me the impetus for this move. It was about the flawed business model of Medium, a ‘free’ blog hosting site that I used for a short time and then left.

Censorship issues aside, Medium will eventually go under and you will be sad that you lost that 2012 article you forgot you wrote. The company has burned $132M with no hope of profitability. Mirror your stuff to a place you control, or there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. —@Pinboard

The dominant web business model of free access in return for tracking advertising is severely flawed. It has created powerful platform capitalists and their massive tracking and manipulation practices which are eroding democracy as we knew it. So if you are concerned by this Silicon Valley world order, and can afford to, then change your online practices. The more people pay for these services then the more companies will offer genuine online services that respect their customers.

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