Four years ago, I said that I thought we’d have manufacturers offering free netbooks to us by now that had ads covering a portion of the screen. It never happened. I was dead wrong.
But now we have word that Amazon is experimenting with an ad-supported Kindle that’s being priced at $114. The so-called Kindle with Special Offers features ads on your home screen, but not when you go to read a book.
This idea as a business model really has legs. If we let our web surfing be tracked so that advertisers or manufacturers can target us with ads, that can lower (or maybe even negate) what we pay for electronics.
More and more, we will have to decide how much privacy we’re willing to give up in return for the content or even the technology being discounted, as Amazon is doing here. The younger you are, the more likely you are to have no expectation of privacy, and the more comfortable you probably are with the “open book” mentality of just letting everything about your life hang out on the Internet.
Given the choice myself, if somebody wants to give me a free gizmo in return for serving me up ads or for doing extensive data mining on me, I’m fine with that!
PREDICTION: I believe $114 for the Kindle with Special Offers is a fake price. By this Christmas, I’m guessing Amazon will do occasional promotional offers on this ad-supported Kindle at $49 or $69. (I have no evidence to support this belief. It’s just a hunch I have. We’ll see if I get egg on my face by the end of the year!)