We're Drowning in Subscriptions

Leticia Miranda writing for Bloomberg:

If it feels like you’re drowning in subscriptions, you aren’t wrong. It’s hard to keep track and, even if you do, you may eat at Panera a lot less than you thought after the first few months of guzzling free tea. For some companies, that’s part of the calculation, plus there’s the bonus of scooping up data on consumers while having them pay for the privilege of free delivery. What a steal!


So why are you suddenly seeing everyone offer some kind of subscription program? There’s a few reasons. The cost to lure in new customers has skyrocketed over the last couple of years as companies and states curb data tracking. Apple Inc.’s mobile operating software allowed customers to opt-out of tracking, limiting how much data marketers collect. Mozilla and Google started to phase out third-party cookies on their networks, further curtailing data collection. California passed a privacy law in 2018, which set a precedent that other states have followed.

Companies cut off from their old data pipes are looking for new ways to learn about us and sell us things. That means they need more data collected directly from us and with our consent. Turns out that subscription programs not only allow them to get our consent to share our information, but we also agree to pay them for that data in return for free perks.


With a looming economic downturn, people are looking to cut costs, opting for cheaper alternatives and dropping little luxuries. Add to that subscription fatigue, and companies will need to think more creatively about how they can help consumers save either time or money. It’s finally time for the subscription economy to go into reverse.

One of my favorite things is that this piece required me to login to read it, which is another gripe about the internet I’ve written about.