Online Subscriptions are Psychological Abuse

Seriously, screw them. All of them. Even World of Warcraft!

Sax Carrby Sax Carr


Big corporations are very, very good at making people pay more money than they have to for things they don't need. That is why they are big corporations. Normally, this is something I have no problem with. Fish gotta swim, and big corporations gotta make more money than anyone would ever need. But every once in a while, one of their marketing campaigns or business models makes me feel like someone slipped me a mickey and next morning I'm going to feel really violated and ashamed.

Recently, I've made a revelation. In the same way that girls avoid frat houses and everyone avoids West Virginia, I avoid paying monthly for things online. It's intuitive. The hairs stick up on the back of my neck. This is the lair of the beast. This is where my story ends.

Sometimes, I feel really bad for West Virginia's PR department.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating. But my point stands. The online subscription based mode of business doing is a trick. It's amoral, and I will prove it. Let's start with the simple deception that they all use, where you can get a subscription for only a few dollars a month, but only if you subscribe for a year or more in advance. That's manipulative, and not particularly nice, guys. Your service is not as cheap as you initially made it seem. Instead, I pay a bunch of money right now, and then have to use it for the next two years or I'll hate myself. That's practically extortion.

But that makes it worse. That's why I can't play MMOs, or subscribe to a porn site. Because I'm paying monthly, I feel like I need to 'play' as often as possible. And, any time I'm not 'playing', I feel like I'm wasting my money. I can't 'play' that much! My hands would get sore, and my 'joystick' will get worn out. And to be fair, there are so many free 'games' on the internet anyway…

What? My 'controller' chafes. And my 'nose' is 'runny'.

But it's not just interactive entertainment and 'interactive entertainment' that uses the subscription model on our precious interwebs. News outlets have tried it, but most of them have failed. Hulu is doing it now, and they actually almost got me. They thought I wouldn't be able to resist Kurosawa and Bergman streamed directly to my Xbox 360. But it still has commercials! I'm paying more to be advertised to! And I already had netflix, which doesn't count because you get DVDs also… I guess. And I do have an Xbox Live account that I definitely pay for. Okay, I may be a hypocrite, but at least I'm an angry hypocrite speaking with zeal in a public forum. That seems to make it okay.

Back on subject, they will make a service you pay for regularly out of anything. Online radio, digital comics, internet services and databases have all been done. I get why companies want it to go this way. It means money keeps coming in, and people feel compelled to get their money's worth, so by the time they need to pay again, they're hooked. It's an addiction, and a disease.

The song still works if the word Crack is replaced with WoW.

The companies know this, and that's the worst part. They design the product to be as addictive as possible. Things that you feel like you might not be able to live without. Sometimes it's as simple as a convenience feature that might suck to lose. But on the other extreme, it's your level capped fully equipped character, or naked people. And that's just not right! How are we supposed to think straight when naked people are on the line? Science proves that people act irrationally about naked people. It's just unfair.

I don't know if my voice will be heard. I can't promise you a future without online subscriptions. I have no idea whether or not these companies will take over the world. But I do know that you will feel the same way I do when you realize you're paying monthly for your water, or your gas, or your electricity… wait. Oh. That makes sense now. Right. Sorry about that. This is pretty much the way it's always been, and always will be. I suggest you buckle down and enjoy being the ride!