The hidden price of “free”
When something is free, there’s frequently a catch. Sometimes it’s a requirement for your personal information, sometimes it’s a constant pitch for a paid version, sometimes it’s exposure to ads. But I have a serious problem with faux “free” when the real price isn’t clearly disclosed.
That’s the issue I take up in my latest Practical Nerd column for GeekWire, “The hidden price of ‘free’,” and free products — the Spotify music service and the AnchorFree Hotspot Shield personal VPN service — that have hidden or frustrating true costs. As state attorneys general are fond of saying: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Even someone like me, who tends to research any tech product or service before using it on my primary computer, can get distracted by the alluring claim of “free.” Consider it a cautionary tale, and read the essay on GeekWire.
On a slightly unrelated note, I had the opportunity to fill-in as co-host of the weekly GeekWire podcast and radio show (airing in Seattle on KIRO 97.3 FM) with GeekWire’s Todd Bishop. Catch the podcast — and a rare photo of me and show guest Chris Pirillo — as we discuss Steve Jobs’ resignation, Facebook privacy and the future of Pirillo’s Gnomedex conference, also on GeekWire.