Friday, April 20, 2007

The Omnipresent Impule Aisle

The idea of having an account with a virtual entity is ages old. I've been participating in this form of contract for over a decade now, and I think that the majority of the first world has been doing it for at least seven years. Most of these are harmless, only costing you the time you chose to spend on them, but a few of them involve the exchange of money. Money is what is making the Internet real, the consequence free game that I once knew has gone away, and now we play for keeps.

Let the businessmen of the world talk about digital distribution all they want, to we natives of this series of tubes it's old news. iTunes didn't pioneer digital distribution, Napster did, and when the invisible hand of the market crushed it Kazaa took over. The reason iTunes gets credit is because they were the first to take our model and let us pay for it. If you recall iTunes used to be a music store, a Napster for pay, but now it can provide you with games, movies, TV shows and e-books, which makes it a Kazaa for pay. I have no doubt that you'll be able to buy all forms of software from one simple location soon. It'll be exactly what we had before, except this time we pay for it.

They've gotten quite good at making us pay for it too. There's a new trick being played, and it's called micro payments. A quick $2 purchase isn't something you would have to really think about before making. You should, but it's low enough that you can write it off. They know that, so they store your payment information with your account information, so that as soon as you've logged in a purchase consists of two clicks. If you disable to prompt it's only one click. The box set is gone, the market has learned that is can subdivide freely, and the whole store is suddenly and impulse aisle. For a few dollars you can hear that song you have in your heard, or see that one episode of that show you and your friends were talking about. They don't have to trick us now, we're doing the job for them.

It is with that in mind that I encourage everyone to think carefully before purchasing anything online. The Internet has consequences now, never forget that.


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