Don’t Read This Article, Read Someone Else’s

That’s a weird headline isn’t it? Why would I want a reader going somewhere else? To read someone else’s work when they could be reading mine? If you saw someone writing that you’d think it’s a bit strange, right? We all want people to see or use the things we make. If this blog was monetised, I’d want people to read it even more. It’s a normal thing to do, and want. I’m not sure anyone would have a problem with that.

Before I go further, I know this is going to be a bit controversial with people and I’ll sound like some sort of corporate shill, but it’s my feeling on the matter, so I’ll share it anyway.

My question is: ‘Why, then, does the same not apply to companies?’ I saw an article on The Verge recently about Microsoft including a little, in the top right corner of Edge, when a user goes to the Chrome download page. The note tells the user some reasons why they may not want to, or need to, switch to Chrome. Mike Rockwell, writing on Initial Charge, when commenting on this post wrote:

This is pretty scummy, but not surprising at all given Microsoft’s history of anti-competitive behavior.
You really shouldn’t be using Google Chrome, though. Try Firefox or Brave instead.

Firstly, and this isn’t a dig at Mike, but I do find that last line quite amusing, given the reason for the post. Is it really scummy behaviour for a company to want, and try to encourage, you to use their services? Why on Earth would they not? This particular message can easily be ignored, and you can go ahead and download whatever you want, but you’ve got to love a trier, right? Well, no, apparently not.

Apple put a small message (called an ad by some) in the Settings screen sometimes to let you know you can try out some of their services for free.

Some people would say this is Apple encouraging you to just take advantage of a free offer. Some would call it an ad, so you try a free trial and then get caught by the corporate machine and keep paying for all eternity! Whatever you call it, and whatever the reason, I just find it strange that people are surprised and even angered by this. As I’ve said, we all want people to use our things and when we’re incentivised this want is even stronger. A YouTuber wants audience retention, a music artist wants downloads or streams of their songs. No one is angry that Adele does thousands of pressers when her new album comes out, but Microsoft or another big company encouraging you to use their products or services in their other apps or services, this is suddenly a big issue.

I’m not asking people to feel sorry for the Corporate fat cats that aren’t getting enough subscriptions to a music service, or downloads of their browser, but it kind of blows my mind that it’s considered news that a company promotes itself via one medium, yet it’s perfectly accepted, and expected in various others.