The free web is hurting our personal privacy and our access to truth. And because a healthy democracy depends on an informed citizenry, that’s hurting the body politic. But if we’re not willing to pay for email, search, entertainment, and facts, somebody else will. It doesn’t have to be this way. – Web pioneers tried to invent new payment methods. – Google’s founders were dead set against advertising. – Advertising technology was an unintended accident of code. Yet here we are today, suffering from an ad-funded web. Why? Because we’ve insisted that “Information wants to be free,” and we’re willing to trade our personal data to get it. Which means we’re not the customer. We’re the product. My new book looks at the history of our transactional relationship with information, from newspapers to radio, from broadcast TV to the web’s search for viable business models. He reveals how the ad-tech industry enabled “free” as the default model for technology products like search and email and media products like news and entertainment. And how it’s now fracturing society and the body politic. Free Is Bad offers more than just a critique, but optimism for a future where we control our online destinies. It profiles exciting, new, people-first businesses already trying to build a better future. It also offers a step-by-step guide to improving our privacy and the quality of information we consume today. Helping us to be the customer and not the product. Because Free Is Bad.
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