• PM_Your_Nudes_Please@lemmy.world
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    8 months ago

    Ding ding ding. It’s an unpopular opinion, but it’s the harsh truth. This is akin to a super high maintenance Karen going “I’m never going to shop here again” even though she immediately returns everything she purchases. The company isn’t making any profit off of her, (in fact they’re losing money because she demands employees’ attention whenever she’s shopping) so a sensible manager’s response should be “okay, we’re glad to see you go. Please don’t come back.”

    YouTube doesn’t want the users who block ads and refuse to pay. Those users are a net drain on the system. Lemmy likes to yell about FOSS, and there is a lot to love about that… But ultimately, the F in FOSS doesn’t really mean “Free”. It means “Free to the end user”. Someone had to devote time and resources to building and hosting that “free” thing. The fact that they’re willing to share their effort is great! But it can’t be the expectation.

    As someone who does a lot of freelance work, I’ll say the same thing that I say to clients when they ask me to work for free because of the exposure: Exposure is what people die of when they can’t pay their rent. I’m not saying YouTube is going to go bankrupt because of these users, but the users can’t reasonably expect YouTube to continue to pay for/accommodate them.

    • dizzy@lemmy.ml
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      8 months ago

      Free in FOSS means free as in freedom not free as in beer.

    • Danny M@lemmy.escapebigtech.info
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      8 months ago

      But ultimately, the F in FOSS doesn’t really mean “Free”. It means “Free to the end user”.

      The F in FOSS does NOT mean gratis. I absolutely hate that we decided to call it Free. There have been attempts at saying another word like libre (aka FLOSS) but those haven’t worked out.

      I don’t agree with the FSF on a lot, but their definition of free software is as follows:

      “Free software” means software that respects users’ freedom and community. Roughly, it means that the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. Thus, “free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer.” We sometimes call it “libre software,” borrowing the French or Spanish word for “free” as in freedom, to show we do not mean the software is gratis.

      You may have paid money to get copies of a free program, or you may have obtained copies at no charge. But regardless of how you got your copies, you always have the freedom to copy and change the software, even to sell copies.


      In other words software can be paid and still be FOSS. In fact, I want to see MORE paid software that’s FOSS.

      Gratis software only works in very rare cases, when an entity other than the user of the software pays for it, but that is NOT the case with FOSS.

      I want more FOSS software that is monetized. Charging for FOSS software is not only permissible but desirable. This model ensures that developers are compensated for their skilled labor, fostering an environment where innovation is rewarded. It’s about creating a sustainable ecosystem where the values of open-source are upheld without sacrificing the financial viability of the developers.

      When software is open-source and monetized, it strikes a critical balance. Users gain the freedoms associated with FOSS – the liberty to run, modify, and share – while developers receive the financial recognition for their contributions.

      Paid FOSS software also opens doors to more professional and polished products. When developers are remunerated, there’s a greater incentive to maintain, improve, and support software. This, in turn, encourages wider adoption, as users are more likely to rely on software that is regularly updated and supported.

      Moreover, a paid FOSS model disrupts the surveillance capitalism model. It negates the need for monetizing user data, as the revenue comes directly from the users in exchange for the software. This aligns perfectly with the principles of respecting user privacy and data ownership.

      I WANT to pay for FOSS software that respects my rights and freedoms. The payment becomes an investment in a world where software is not just a tool, but a statement of principles. It’s a declaration that I support an ecosystem where the power and control lie with the users, not in the hands of a few large corporations.

      By paying for FOSS, we’re contributing to a marketplace that values ethical practices over profit maximization. We’re fostering a space where software developers don’t have to resort to underhanded tactics like data mining or invasive advertising to make a living. Instead, they can focus on creating quality, user-respecting software.

      This isn’t to say that all FOSS should come with a price tag. There will always be a place for gratis FOSS, especially in educational and non-profit sectors, tho in such cases developers should strive to ask for donations. But for the software that powers businesses and our daily lives, a paid model is more sustainable and ethical.

      The beauty of this approach is its alignment with the principles of free-market capitalism. It’s a voluntary exchange where value is given and received. Users pay for the freedom, quality, and respect that FOSS offers, while developers are compensated for their ingenuity and hard work.

      • paperplane@lemmy.world
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        8 months ago

        A nice example of this is Ardour: A DAW that’s free in the sense that the source code is GPL, but the prebuilt official binaries have to be paid for.

      • shapis@lemmy.ml
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        8 months ago

        When software is open-source and monetized, it strikes a critical balance. Users gain the freedoms associated with FOSS – the liberty to run, modify, and share – while developers receive the financial recognition for their contributions.

        I never understood how these two concepts can coexist.

        Lets say you made something FOSS and sold it to one person. Can’t that person just… redistribute it for free? Which kinda makes you trying to make a living out of selling it much much more difficult or downright impossible?

        • Danny M@lemmy.escapebigtech.info
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          8 months ago

          Of course, people can be dishonest, but nothing stops the same from happening with proprietary software. Cracks do and will always exist. As Louis Rossmann aptly put it, “If you choose to steal paid FOSS software nobody is stopping you, that’s between you and your God.”

          While it’s technically feasible for a purchaser to redistribute FOSS software, this act doesn’t negate the continuous value a developer can offer. Think of it akin to a chef in an open kitchen; the recipe may be visible to all, but the chef’s expertise in crafting and adapting the dish, as well as the dining experience provided, is what customers pay for.

          In the world of proprietary software, the illusion of control is often just that – an illusion. Despite the efforts to safeguard against unauthorized distribution such as DRM, software licenses, verification servers, etc. piracy remains a prevalent issue. The key difference is that FOSS is upfront about this reality, building its model on transparency and trust rather than control.

          Morally speaking, the FOSS model respects user freedom and fosters a community built on mutual respect and collaboration. It acknowledges the possibility of misuse but chooses to focus on positive engagement and the creation of value that extends beyond mere code. In this way, FOSS aligns more closely with the principles of intellectual freedom and individual empowerment, encouraging a market where ideas and innovations are shared and improved upon collectively, rather than hoarded for profit.

          • shapis@lemmy.ml
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            8 months ago

            the recipe may be visible to all, but the chef’s expertise in crafting and adapting the dish, as well as the dining experience provided, is what customers pay for.

            I mean, you cant ctrl+c ctrl+v the dish. That’s the difference. If anyone could ctrl+c ctrl+v meals I think most restaurants would go bankrupt. Right?

        • cole@lemdro.id
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          8 months ago

          I shipped several android apps that were GPL licensed and FOSS but had in-app paid options. You could also download a fully unlocked version from f-droid. They were quite profitable and the statistics were surprising. Turns out people are willing to pay for good software

    • SkyNTP@lemmy.ml
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      8 months ago

      The assertion that non-paying customers do not provide value to a business is patently and demonstrably false. Especially in a free market.

      A platform like YouTube benefits from non-paying customers because these customers still drive engagement and help solidify market share.

      Non-paying customers still consume sponsor spots, which benefits creators, keeping creators on YouTube and therefore still benefitting YouTube.

      Non-paying customers will promote YouTube just by using it, even for free, and create the impression that YouTube is the only game in town, instead of looking for and promoting alternatives.

      Having a non-paying customer on your platform is in most ways better than having that customer become a paying customer on a competing platform.

      The only time this dynamic no longer holds true is if YouTube believes their position is so entrenched that there is no more competition and they can squeeze the users all they want (end game enshitification).

      • ridethisbike@lemmy.world
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        8 months ago

        The only time this dynamic no longer holds true is if YouTube believes their position is so entrenched that there is no more competition and they can squeeze the users all they want (end game enshitification).

        Uuuhhh… Pretty sure that’s where we’re on now soooo…

    • darthelmet@lemmy.world
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      8 months ago

      I don’t think that’s entirely true. Or at least not in the longer term view of it. YT isn’t just some random store that doesn’t want to deal with an unruly customer. It’s a big tech monopoly platform. Like the other tech giants, their strategy has always hinged on becoming the only game in town. And they predictably use the same tactics monopolies have been using for the past century:

      1. Offer the product at such a low price that you take a loss and use your hoard of money to outlast would-be competitors who don’t have a massive pot of money to burn. In YT/Google terms this is the fact that it’s a free site and up until very recently they’ve done little to nothing about adblocking users despite being one of the biggest tech companies in the world, knowing it is happening, (It was in their chrome extensions search, plus they don’t pay the creators for the no-ad views.) and having the capability to stop it at least for their browser, which a lot of people were already using. Why not go to war with adblockers sooner when their entire business is built on advertising? Because that’s the cost they were willing to bear to turn YT into a monopoly. They could take the hit on not getting ad revenue from some users, but some hypothetical competitor certainly couldn’t.

      2. Make switching hard. A site that’s grown as large as YT has massive network effects. For viewers, that’s where all the videos are. For creators that’s where all the viewers are. For both that’s where there is enough of a community that there are lively discussions in comments. Nobody outside nerds like us is going to some external site they’ve never heard of. If you want to get your stuff out there, you use YT. Then there are things like creator contracts to further discourage switching.

      Ad block users aren’t valueless to YT, or at least they weren’t. They were a portion of those viewers and commenters that contributed to YT becoming THE video social media site. They comment, share videos around, maybe even contribute directly to creators to allow them to keep making YT video. You maybe lose a out on a couple cents from the lost ad views for each one of them, but the value of the network effect gained by keeping them around this long far outweighs that loss.

      EDIT: Oh and how could I forget: They get data from you. Sure, they can’t directly sell ads for you off that data, but the more data they have in general, the better they are able to make predictions about other similar users, which is valuable.

      They’re doing this now because they can. They no longer have meaningful competition to kill off. The few that kinda cross into their market are also massive tech platform monopolies that are currently engaged in the exact same thing. They can’t expand their customer base anymore, so now they’re extracting more money from the captive audience they have.

      And it’s not just adblock users they’re increasing the “price” for. YT has added an insane number of ads to their videos and increased the price of YT Premium. If adblockers died tomorrow, they wouldn’t be like “What a relief, now that we’ve gotten rid of the freeloaders, we can finally lower our prices for everyone since they aren’t bearing the burden of the non-payers.” They just get to tighten the screws even further because they would have gained an even more dominant position over their users.

      In a fairer world, we’d all pay a reasonable amount for the things we use or move on to an alternative if we’d rather not. But we don’t live in that world. We live in capitalist hell world where everything is a monopoly and the government is so captured by those corporate interests that they basically never enforce even the meager anti-trust laws we do have.

    • _number8_@lemmy.world
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      8 months ago

      this is a salient point sure, but you are perfectly capable of wording it in a way that doesn’t also suck off a shitty malignant corporation. why the fuck would you sympathize with google? they have trillions of dollars, it is literally not at all comparable to your work.

      thank you for being so mature and telling us peons the Real Mature Truths. your bravery is commendable.

    • Sightline@lemmy.ml
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      8 months ago

      They already make money off of us, what the fuck are you talking about?

      • PM_Your_Nudes_Please@lemmy.world
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        8 months ago

        You missed my point. If you’re blocking ads/trackers, and refusing to pay for premium? Then they aren’t making money off of you. You’re consuming their resources for free. Regardless of your feelings on ads/tracking being invasive, the fact of the matter is that’s how the website makes money. So when you eliminate those, you eliminate any reason for them to pander to your wants. The only potential benefit to keeping you around would be to help drive engagement. But since they’ve run all the competition out of business, they don’t need to worry about that because they don’t need engagement from the 1% of users who still try to block ads.

        • rebelsimile@sh.itjust.works
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          8 months ago

          Regardless of your feelings on ads/tracking being invasive, the fact of the matter is that’s how the website makes money

          It has nothing to do with feelings. The data they track has a value. You’re claiming they “aren’t making money off of you”. They are.

          • PM_Your_Nudes_Please@lemmy.world
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            8 months ago

            Again, you missed my point. If you’re blocking those ads and trackers, they have no data from you and therefore you have no value to them.

            • rebelsimile@sh.itjust.works
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              8 months ago

              If you’re blocking those ads and trackers, they have no data from you

              Let’s pause and pretend that’s true.

              ….Ahhh. 😃 if only.

          • cole@lemdro.id
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            8 months ago

            you’re wrong, actually. Google sells ads, not data. They USE data to target ads which is where the big bucks are. If you block ads, all the data in the world wouldn’t allow them to profit. So by blocking ads you are preventing Google from collecting any revenue from your participation

              • cole@lemdro.id
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                8 months ago

                well it doesn’t have any value if it can’t be sold or used

                • rebelsimile@sh.itjust.works
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                  8 months ago

                  We can agree to disagree about this. I don’t think my obligation is to maximize my ARPU for Google. And given how malignant they are it’s now my mission to maliciously minimize my value to them. Maybe we are just on different wavelengths. Enjoy your Google services.

                  • cole@lemdro.id
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                    8 months ago

                    Sure, but I think you were being intentionally misleading by disputing that Google isn’t making money off of you if block ads, despite the fact that that person was correct.

    • whats_all_this_then@lemmy.world
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      8 months ago

      On I 100% agree with you here. But here’s my (and I think a lot of people’s) logic:

      It’s slightly different in the case of YouTube. The shop isn’t putting Karen (and everyone else) under a microscope the second she walks into the store, and using that data to tailor what she sees in their other branches so she’s more likely to buy. They’re not creating what’s effectively a gigantic influence market out of the data, and I don’t think you are doing that to your clients either (although to be honest, I’d be pretty impressed if you were).

      YouTube is free because “we are the product”. They’re harvesting our data whether we block ads, skip ads, watch ads, or pay for premium (as far as I know, please correct me if I’m wrong). It may not be profitable on its own but it sure as hell is bringing value to Google’s other services. All the while, it’s actively getting worse for end users (more and more ads, no more dislikes, not respecting video quality choices as well as it used to, hiding quality settings behind obtuse menus on mobile, no home page without watch history…)

      Ultimately, “line no go up big like last year grug mad” is what matters to Google’s shareholders and what ultimately drives their decisions. I firmly believe that we’d still be having this conversation if YouTube somehow making a profit with ad blockers on, so fuck em.