It’s quite a conundrum as consumers actually believe a company is not interested in making money.
Software developers, product managers, project managers, graphic design, layout design, web design, and database engineers and big data gurus all come with a very expensive price tag!
So why are these companies offering their products for free?
I’ve had a hard time wrapping my head around this for years: Why people would unquestionably try or download a software or a social media site just because it’s free?
I’ve come to realize that in this world nothing is free, from favours, to friends, to business networking, to time.
Here is how these companies make their bottom line legally:
1: Profiling, mostly consumer profiling;
2: Data gathering and selling to marketeers, who knows where it goes from there;
3: Ads, tailored to your web profile.
Worst of all this all all done legally by you accepting to download their software for free. Yes it’s in the fine print. Not only do you allow these companies to data mine your activity online, but you give them free reign to sell or use that information as they see fit.
I’d be extremely wary of any company offering me a product for free. In a traditional exchange of funds for a product, you are bound by a contract. I costumer give company x amount for this product. The relationship between you and the company is clearly defined in the sales contract, and usually that relationship ends once the exchange is done.
In a free exchange you are giving the company free reign on your personal information for an indeterminate amount of time in exchange for a free product. Sure sounds like you wind up paying more in the “free” exchange in the long run.
And now the scary option, here is how these “companies” illegally make their bottom line:
1: Data gathering, password key logging, reverse shell, credit card number logging;
2: Social net exploration, trying to find your contacts and how you contact them and in what manner;
3: Identity theft;
4: Botnet infestation of your device (by those pesky black hole Russian folks);
5: Transforming your device in an illegal content file sharing hub.
You are much better off paying the 20$ for the software or the 5$ for the app and have a valid consumer contract instead of winding up targeted by the internet wolves like a sheep in pasture.