The Free Web Kübler-Ross Model


1. Denial

In this phase, you think nothing is wrong. All is well. You might think the free web service is lucky and thankful to have you. These are bumps in the road and it’s still pretty cool. You see more and more ads in your Facebook profile or the page loads slowdown because of ad networks. Perhaps, you wonder how these guys are making money, but you figure someone is paying something or they will figure it out later. Heck, the founders think they will figure it out someday.

2. Anger

The website or service you have been using for free has done something stupid and it has affected you. They mess with your privacy settings. You are getting sick of bots sending you garbage tweets back. They decide they can start using your content for their ads. You can either jump back into denial or move ahead to bargaining. Is there another free service I can bolt to? Screw them.

3. Bargaining

You install Adblock to try and make a dent into the junk. You are getting more and more junk/spam tweets from bots, trending topics are nothing you are really interested in.  Perhaps, if you just got a better Twitter client that could hide the mess and maybe you should take a different approach or something. Maybe, just maybe, you can gleam some value from your effort. You can stay here for quite a while. There are a bunch of free services that will come in here to try and help you cope with the mess of the free web. You can get more browser extensions to nuke flash ads, you can install and setup all the Do Not Track stuff (except that won’t work either.)

4. Depression

The realization that you have put a considerable amount of time into this over the last many months and possibly years but it is not working-out as you might have hoped. They have messed with you, your information and content, and your friends and you see these free services are not really there just for you. How are you going to get your stuff off their site? You are sad. It is at this point, you can go back into a state of denial or move ahead to acceptance and decide to change.

5. Acceptance

If you can get to this step, you eventually realize this is all part of the game. Those services you used for free made you the product. You gave them value because you and others are looking at your own stuff. They just provided the space and are taking advantage of you and wasting your time and others. Hopefully, this is the point you realize there are really no freebies without consequences.


More on the Kübler-Ross model.

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