I recently wrote a post entitled “We Will Pay for Privacy“, wherein I predicted that, in the next few years, some high-value consumer segments will begin to understand what is happening to their personal data on the web, and they will stop using ad-supported services for private activities such as email and photo sharing. Instead, these consumers will pay modest fees for such services, in exchange for privacy. New service providers will guarantee their customer’s privacy: they will not display behaviorally-targeted ads on their site, and they will not sell or support re-targeting cookies, for example. Instead, they will simply charge a reasonable fee in exchange for a reasonable service. And consumers who can afford it will do so.
Of course, a few people responded by saying that not enough such consumers exist. I disagree, and here is one more point of evidence that the tide is starting to turn:
Take a look at Tim Bourquin’s site MemberCon, where Tim encourages people to produce content and charge for it. (Crazy, I know.) He is fighting a tremendous battle to convince people that all content need not be free (as in free beer). In fact, he charges hundreds of dollars for his own content, and he is slowly gathering a following.
For additional examples, see my previous post.