The era of working in cyberspace has long arrived

People’s perception of time is different, it can be long or short.

When playing the game “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt”, my friend seemed to be one with the chair, starting at 8:00 in the morning, sitting together for 5 hours, only one thing left: wow, I forgot to eat lunch.

At this time, the time seems to be very short, 5 hours is like a moment, but in fact, the time can be very long, just 15 seconds can be as long as a day – wait for the video site’s advertisement to automatically play.

When various Internet services constitute our life, there are more and more such moments, such as waiting for the 15-second advertisement of QQ Music to end before we can start listening to songs.

Your time, social connections, are all “monetized”

Seeing that more and more songs in the collection list are turned into VIP songs, will you grit your teeth and pay more than a hundred yuan for the subscription fee every year, or will you give up silently and delete it from the song list?

Now, QQ Music has given a new option to watch ads and listen to songs for free.

▲ QQ music test free mode

At the beginning of this year, QQ Music launched the “free listening song” service test, watching 15-second advertisements, and automatically active 30 minutes of free listening time, which is equivalent to getting 30 minutes of VIP music library audition time.

Does this sound like a good deal? A friend of mine who participated in the internal test replied to me like this:

It’s cost-effective to listen to it for free, but there are still many places where the experience is poor. For example, the advertising library is not very good. 8 out of 10 advertisements are the advertisements of Pinduoduo for 9.9 yuan to grab the iPhone, and the advertisements of the video platform will be changed.

The second is that at first it was 30 minutes of watching a 15-second commercial, but now it’s 20 seconds, an extra 5 seconds!

Listening to songs for 3 hours a day means watching a full 2 ​​minutes of commercials.

▲ Not only green diamond VIP, but also super members with more rights and more expensive.

Repeated advertising bombardment for 2 minutes a day, month by month, the membership fee of 18 yuan has never been so “cost-effective”.

Spending time watching advertisements to get free listening time is actually using your time to buy membership services. This design of “monetizing” people’s time is flooded with various products, such as daily check-in, points for membership, and advertising for points .

More directly, there are various speed version applications that claim to have a simple design. According to the usage time, you can exchange various services, or even exchange money directly. This is the case with the Douyin speed version. According to the daily usage time, check-in, etc., you can exchange for “platform”. Currency” notes, which in turn can be converted to money.

▲You can “exchange money” for your time and social relationships

Even social relationships can be currency. Whether it is Pinduoduo’s hacking activity or inviting new users to register in various apps, they all need to go through social relationships.

Recently, Youku has even launched the service of watching the drama “Chop a knife”. People can invite friends to watch it together. Invite 5 Youku users to unlock the latest episode of the plot, which is equivalent to the previous advance on-demand fee. Invite friends to participate in the chase drama.

Among them, the most extreme ones are undoubtedly various cutting-edge NFT games. Axie Infinity, which was launched in 2018, is one of the best. This game of cultivating pets is combined with NFTs to attract players to cultivate and cast NFTs in exchange for monetary benefits.

▲Axie Infinity

The longer you play, the more you earn.

Your time and social relationships can be used as currency to purchase Internet products and services, and even “make money” with this.

Whether it is a sci-fi movie or a variety of metaverse concept stories, it has been rendered such a scene that in the future, people will work in the virtual world to earn income and exchange time for various services.

In fact, we are already in such a future. Watching advertisements on QQ Music to get listening time, watching videos on Douyin Express to make money, and playing Axie Infinity to make money is not a futuristic “cyber part-time job”.

There is a contract for part-time work, but “cyber part-time work” does not necessarily have

In normal work, a labor contract is signed, and the rights and wages are clearly stated, and the company will repeatedly emphasize with you that you should read every item in the paper contract in detail, but it is not necessarily the case for working in cyberspace.

You may see a densely populated “User Agreement” like a tide of ants in the pop-up window of the page. It is not even easy to have a pop-up window, but a small button in the corner of the page. How many people will actually read it.

The rights and benefits of “cyber part-time jobs” in online services are not stable.

▲ QQ music free listening service, from 15 seconds advertising to 20 seconds

Just like at the beginning of the QQ Music test, it was claimed that after watching a 15-second advertisement, you could listen to it for 30 minutes for free. After a period of testing, the advertising time increased by 5 seconds and became 20 seconds.

In social media and App Store comments, there are many changes in the ratio of making money for Douyin Express, or the troublesome withdrawal.

▲ Axie Infinity’s pet price

Even WEB3, which claims to be absolutely safe, is no exception. Axie Infinity recently stole $625 million in NFT currency due to hackers, causing the price to plummet, reducing the number of people willing to play games for income.

Will there be a next time, whether the next time will be an increase in the advertising time or a decrease in revenue, the platform is the leader of this “cyber part-time job” activity.

In addition, the opacity of the activity rules is also one of the problems. This is the reason why Pinduoduo’s “Chop a knife” campaign has caused public anger. After one knife is cut, there is another knife, and after the amount is cut, there are still ingots. You never know when you will be able to complete 100 %.

▲ “Cut a knife” function

In the face of frequently changing rules, some people may suffer silently, while others choose to pay, which is what various Internet platforms want.

Before QQ Music, Spotify had tried to monetize the service, people could choose to actively watch ads for free listening time, and set up paywalls to drive subscribers up.

Recently, streaming media leader Netflix suffered its first subscriber decline in more than a decade, losing a full 200,000 subscribers. Netflix estimates that this trend will continue, and nearly 2 million users will stop subscribing in the next quarter.

Netflix, which once claimed to be a premium service with just a subscription, is also considering a lower-priced version with ads to entice people to resubscribe.

The monetization of Internet services was originally a matter of your own accord. If you don’t want to pay, you will pay for your time or social connections.

The real problem is that the rules are constantly changing and the rules are opaque, the advertising market is getting longer and longer, I don’t know what can cut the last knife, and the instability of rights and benefits will naturally lead to people’s resistance.

The platform is launching various monetization services based on “credibility” as the credit guarantee. When the rules are constantly changing or opaque, it is not far from credit bankruptcy. Even the parents who are regarded as the main group, see the forwarding “Chop a knife”. During the event, he also said to me:

Don’t believe it, it’s all fake, who knows when it will be finished.

The Internet era of how fast and economical is coming to an end

At the end of the last century, Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web and wrote the world’s first World Wide Web website. Since then, the Internet has developed rapidly, and various products and services have emerged one after another.

Using QQ to quickly connect, the e-commerce platform has smoothed out regional differences, and people can choose tens of thousands of products on one platform. The rise of takeaway and express services has continuously shortened the delivery time, from one week to the next day, or even 2 hours up.

“More, faster and better savings” is the criterion for major platforms to improve their experience, and it is also the reason why people are attracted to become loyal users. People’s lifestyles have been changed, and Internet platforms have also benefited from it.

Today, the Internet is no longer rare and can be seen everywhere. According to data released by CNNIC, as of December 2020, the number of netizens in China reached 989 million, and the Internet penetration rate was 70.4%.

Internet platforms are getting closer and closer to the growth ceiling. As commercial companies, they naturally pursue profits. Copyright, server, and labor costs are also increasing with users. At the same time, people’s payment habits have not formed. Tencent Music reported in last year’s Q2 financial report. Mentioned:

Users are currently in a fairly polarized situation. Some users appreciate the value of music and are willing to pay for it and become our subscribers. And some users, no matter what they do, can’t convert them to pay. This advertising strategy is aimed at these unconverted users.

When some people are unwilling to pay for content, paying for time and social connections has become a solution for platforms.

▲ QQ Music’s Activity of Watching Ads and Earning Points

Originally, various Express Edition applications were designed to adapt to the general network services in emerging Internet areas. When network costs are relatively high and mobile phone equipment prices are high, users are attracted by smaller application installation packages and lower performance requirements.

However, now the speed version has become a “promotion tool”, and Douyin is attracting people with “notes for money”, prompting people to exchange social connections and time for money.

You think you are scouring the platform for wool, but the platform is actually scouring your wool. After all, the rules of activities are determined by the rules of the platform. When the cost of pulling new products becomes higher, the platform can use new activities to increase the advertising time or reduce the replacement ratio.

The Internet is not free. If you don’t pay, go to “cyborg work” and even endure opaque or constantly changing rules of activity.

If you don’t pay, your choices are no longer rich. You can only listen to a short section of VIP songs, and the content is no longer played quickly. You have to watch an advertisement before listening to a song or watching a video. If you don’t pay, you can’t enjoy various membership discounts and coupons. Click Takeout is more expensive.

The Internet era of “more speed and better savings” is coming to an end.

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