Why the Internet Is Getting Pricier
By: Kaydee Ambas · February 22, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes
For decades, the internet was more of a public good than a paid service. Everything from social networking to internet search was free.
Why? Ad money. As far as ways to make money on the internet go, advertising is the gold standard. Companies build a platform or site lots of people want to visit, and advertisers pay to be seen by those people. Even some of the biggest tech companies remain reliant on advertising. For example, 97.5% of Facebook’s (META) total revenue in 2022 came from ads.
But as they mature, legacy internet companies are now looking to change that.
Video streamers of course have long relied on monthly fees. But they’re no longer alone.
Meta Platforms – owner of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp – recently announced a new subscription service that will allow users to verify their accounts. The service will cost between $11.99 and $14.99 per month and offer additional benefits like streamlined customer support.
The announcement came just months after Twitter launched a similar verification-based subscription service. And it’s not just the socials asking you to click subscribe.
Uber (UBER), Lyft (LYFT), Instacart, and DoorDash (DASH) all offer subscription services promising users everything from discounts to faster delivery times. And even dating apps now offer tiered pricing plans – some ranging up to $60 per month.
No More Free Lunch
Facing economic uncertainty, internet companies are getting more creative with ways they can squeeze more money from users. And with the recent turbulence in the tech sector, these legacy companies feel the need to diversify away from advertising as their sole source of revenue.
At the same time, the internet is more crowded now than ever before, meaning there is more and more pressure to provide the best service possible.
So the quality of life on the internet will likely continue to improve – but only if you’re willing to pay for it.
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