Software Was Never Meant To Be Free

We used to have shareware and that was how programmers could give you software for free.  When 2% of people pay for ‘free’ software, the rest of the world could get the benefits of free software.

Because people don’t pay for mobile & desktop apps developers started adding very annoying ads into software causing some unintended consequences.

  • Tracking and collecting of personal information even though that information is not needed for the application.  The advertisers demand it because of ad targeting.
  • The customer is slowly shifting from the user of the application to the advertisers.  This causes the programming to optimize for where ‘best’ to show the ad in order to get the most attention.  How often do they show the ads to get engagement?  How annoying could they make the ads in order to drive the users to subscribe, or delete the app and look for alternatives.

This is my call to action

  • For your favorite free app, free application, find out how to pay the programmer directly.  Example: I use KeePassXC to securely generate and store my passwords.  I use it multiple times a day, I pay $1 / month to keep the software in active development.
  • Pay the subscription tier if your application allows for it.
  • Find alternatives to applications that are ads driven businesses, because your attention and time is being sold to advertising companies.

 

Published by Tony Tam

Senior Engineer Manager, Engineering Productivity @ Splunk, ImpactfulEngineer.org & SFBadminton.org