July 24, 2022
Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol
Good morning! You thought subscription fatigue was bad? Wait till you see what comes next.
If it feels like you’re suddenly being charged for everything in your life, it’s because you are. And more often than not, that line item on your credit card statement is a monthly charge.
Subscriptions are everywhere. Dinners, razors, video games, electric scooters, workout apparel: Almost everything can now be bought under a monthly payment model. And, by-and-large, interest in the subscription economy shows no signs of slowing down.
But now we’re onto the next chapter: Welcome to the age of micro-subscriptions.
There are indicators of increasing consumer animosity and evidence that companies may be testing the boundaries of the subscription business model.
Companies are constantly looking for new ways to make money off of us, and the lure of the monthly fee model is bound to be too enticing to pass up.
Many businesses are used to offering a set of products or services as a bundle, which makes it easier to unbundle and sell as separate subscriptions. Couple that with concerns about an economic slowdown ahead and it’s a low-hanging strategy for businesses to try to both grow and diversify their sales.
Smaller payments work at getting us to pay for a product or service — something that we might have previously been getting for free or as part of an otherwise bigger package of services, like TweetDeck. They can also help alleviate some of the problems businesses face in managing subscription models.
Given the success, it’s likely we’ll see even more of this. For example, Elon Musk wants to lower the already rock-bottom pricing for Twitter Blue and charge it all upfront instead of monthly.
Ever since the Cambridge Analytica scandal at Facebook, backlash has grown against the “free” business model, one in which consumers are largely paying for the product with their data or some other non-monetary form of remittance.
But perhaps that wasn’t so bad. Corporations are going to get our information one way or another. Now, they’re also going to get our $2.99 per month. Maybe our only hope now is the hacker community.
Chip shortage could undermine national security: The global shortage of semiconductors has impeded the production of everything from pickup trucks to PlayStations. But there are graver implications than a scarcity of consumer goods. If the U.S. does not ensure continued domestic access to leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing, experts say our national security could suffer.
This Al Gore-backed coalition is trying to hold climate polluters accountable— Michelle Ma
Charles Lamanna runs one of Microsoft’s fastest-growing businesses: Helping regular folks build business apps— Aisha Counts
Coinbase case could turn crypto tokens into securities— Tomio Geron
There’s a new push for a right to repair enterprise software— Ben Brody
Meta’s next big bet: The ‘metaversity’— Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu
How will Big Tech respond to the end of Roe v. Wade? Look abroad.— Issie Lapowsky
Chiplets helped save AMD. They might also help save Moore’s law and head off an energy crisis.— Max A. Cherney
How I decided to allow remote work forever at Atlassian — Allison Levitsky
Security teams are skeptical of AI. Attack prevention products could change that.— Kyle Alspach
Chip shortage could undermine national security: To ensure American security, prosperity and technological leadership, industry leaders say the U.S. must encourage domestic manufacturing of chips in order to reduce our reliance on East Asia producers for crucial electronics components.
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