Yesterday, Netflix informed its users that from September on, its services are going to cost more and offer less -- a pretty harsh blow to its wide base of users. The move came as a surprise to many Netflix customers, who have flooded the Netflix Facebook page, blog and Twitter account with angry comments and threats to cancel memberships. Netflix is turning a corner: No longer one of the "good guy" major corporations, it seems bound to lose its target demographic (the 25-35s who want greener living, convienence and cool, all in sexy packaging).
Or will it?
Because, as it would seem, kids these days put their faith in a lot of mega-corporations that offer little more than glossy marketing and twenty-something tie-and-shirt (with the occasional black-rimmed glasses and nose piercing) customer-service representatives --basically, today's version of the Bible salesman. In fact, three of the most corpulent, greed-driven corporations today hiding beneath the veneer of beauty and goodwill are Google, Apple and Facebook. Forget Netflix. Netflix taking advantage of a monopolized market (thanks to Blockbuster closing) after luring customers in with low prices is a joke compared to the chicanery of these three giants. That was capitalism; this is scary.
What do we see in Facebook that we didn't see in MySpace? MySpace had (has, but they're like the ex-girlfriend crying in the corner we'd rather forget) awesome music-sharing features; users could write their own code to design profiles; and users could erase their entire profiles of their own free will. Apparently, though, most people would prefer a monochrome exterior dictated by the man (Zuckerberg), extreme rigidity in designing your online profile, and the loss of personal rights to pictures, conversations and posts -- not to mention no added protection against identity theft and trolling.
Apple, like Facebook, also offers the world in prettier packaging, but at a phenomenally high cost -- twice to three times as high, as a matter of fact -- making it a status symbol for those who hate status symbols. No matter what product Apple is selling -- the iPod, he iPhone, the iPad, the iMac -- all Apple needs to do is make its product look sleek and charge a bunch more money, and everyone lines up for the slaughter. As if that weren't bad enough, Apple mines a person's every activity and sells that information to other corporations. Just two months ago, Apple got in trouble for tracking iPhone users like big brother, using the GPS locators in each phone.
Google Google takes the cake for being the scariest corporation hiding under the guise of white-bread perfection of all time. Rush to get your Google + invites, and make sure not to read the Terms of Agreement, because Google owns your shit when you upload it to any one of their platforms (Gmail, Google Chrome, Google +). If that weren't frightening enough, Google is currently caught up in legislation that may force them to give information to governing authorities if a person is under suspicion. Couple that with the Patriot Act, and personal information is a thing of the past. Trusting Google requires trusting the government, trusting the CEO of Google and trusting other users.
We might as well be burying our money in jars in the back yard like our post-Depression-era-raised grandparents, wearing tin foil on our heads and hiding information from our computers -- that's how 1984 these corporations have made the Internet.
Dwight Schrute might be right after all.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.