The quality of life on the Internet is getting more expensive

Illustration of a browser window about to close with a cursor containing a hundred dollar bill

Illustration by Sarah Grillo/Axios

A better quality of life on the Internet is getting more and more expensive.

Driving news. The world’s largest social platforms are trying to charge people for everything from improved account security and support to the promise of greater public disclosure.

  • Meta said on Sunday that it is starting to test a new paid verification service for Instagram and Facebook users to get a badge to verify their identity. For $11.99 or $14.99 per month, customers also get “proactive account monitoring for impersonators” and “real person access” for account issues.
  • The move follows a Twitter announcement Friday that two-factor authentication via text message will only be offered to paying Twitter Blue customers thereafter March 20.
  • With Twitter Blue now! restartedcustomers can pay monthly a blue markOn Twitter, you can edit tweets, see fewer ads “soon,” post longer tweets, and show up more prominently on other users’ timelines, among other perks.

Between the lines. While both companies are in many ways targeting their most prolific users or creators for new revenue, Internet watchers have long viewed authentication and identity protection features as core responsibilities of online platforms, not perks or perks.

What is happening: Legacy web-based companies are maturing, looking for greater ways to squeeze money from the users they have, while fighting for loyalty through new opportunities as consumers demand new experiences online.

  • In that battle, Internet players ranging from social media companies, delivery apps, media networks and business software providers are providing paid add-ons.

Details: Snap’s Snapchat+, which launched last year for $3.99 a month, gives paying customers access to more content optionsincluding graphics and settings.

  • Dating apps including Hinge and Tinder have been tested $50 to $60 and $500 monthly plans for their “most targeted users” — people who want perks, including better recommendations, and to have their “likes” appear faster, according to Bloomberg.
  • Uber, Lyft, Instacart and DoorDash have all launched subscription services in recent years that promise faster service and bundled discounts.

Be smart. The steady growth of Internet advertising fueled the first two decades of applications and services. But as companies and their investors seek greater profits, finding customers willing to pay helps diversify their sources of income.

  • Twitter CEO Elon Musk announced Meta’s moves on Sunday.unavoidable“.

  • Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mandeep Singh estimates that Meta’s Verified feature could add $2 billion to $3 billion for Meta. Annual Income.

The big pictureThe entire Internet experience has become more expensive in recent years, along with high inflation rates for energy and other goods and services.

  • Internet connectivity has become less accessible around the world in 2021. UN specialized agency.
  • Internet providers in the US price increase offset slow broadband customer growth.
  • Many major news organizations have implemented paywalls as the advertising market becomes more competitive and growth in digital subscriptions for global news begins to level off, according to 2022. Reuters Institute report.
  • While many streaming servicesincluding HBO Max, Disney+, Apple TV+, Netflix have recently increased their prices 7% to: 40%.
  • Cloud computing costs have also been going up as the pandemic disrupted supply chains and the war in Ukraine spurred higher energy costs.

Our thought bubble. More pay-to-play options threaten to divide the internet between the haves and have-nots, compounding the digital divide while exacerbating income and mental health inequalities.

  • And as Axios has previously written , while the creation of a paid Internet layer can never limit free alternatives, it threatens to leave society with fewer common reference points.

Go deeper. Everyone wants to sell your attention

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