Hot on the heels of a discussion I just had regarding [my] waning interest in certain social media services, Lifehacker points this out:
MetaFilter user blue_beetle accurately observed that “if you’re not paying for something, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold”. This sentiment doesn’t just apply to unhappy Digg users but to a significant portion of the online experience and many real life interactions.
I disagree with the part about real life interaction, which no semblance of online media richness can ever replace. But I’d say the rest of it is spot on, at least as it relates to intangible offerings.