With the announcement of the Kindle Fire HD, some users were upset to learn that Amazon was going to stuff “special offers” on the device. But the company quickly retreated, and now is offering the option to turn of the ads for a mere $15.

This is a good development for consumers. We should have the choice to move away from ad-supported business models. As I explain with my co-author Jan Whittington, there is a cost to free business models. “Free,” ad-supported services are packed with hidden costs to privacy and other consumer interests.

While the ads are gone, there is still no word on whether Amazon will reduce tracking of Kindle users. Without backing off on tracking, this is not a pure privacy play.

And an interesting data point–how is it that Amazon is willing to give up these special offers for only $15, given that “customers love our special offers“?

Comments

  1. #1 Tony Mach
    September 10, 2012

    So you buy a device, you get “special offers” forced down your throat with it, and you have to pay extra to switch that nuisance off? And you call that a “good” development?

    *Scratches head in amazement and wonder*

  2. #2 Chris Hoofnagle
    September 10, 2012

    @Tony, the $15 reflects the true cost of the product. Before it was $299 subsidized with ads, with no choice on the matter. Now you can pay $314 and get it free of ads. The point of my work on this issue is that we should be paying for these devices and services, otherwise we are the product.

  3. #3 JBC
    September 20, 2012

    Why buy the thing to begin with? There is no way I’m buying something that comes with ads, regardless of the price. I don’t buy those “membership cards” that you pay up front for either–all for the “privilege” of “saving” something down the road on stuff that’s overpriced to begin with. People my age (old) just don’t fall for all this junk that you young people have now been brought up with.

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