Everything for Nothing (or, the Internet Has Trained Us to Believe That We Should Get Everything for Free)

The company I work for isn’t the world’s most expensive website host, but we’re several notches above the thousands of 99¢ unlimited everything hosts out there.

The problem is that cheap prices charged by cheap hosting companies have conditioned many people to believe that higher-quality hosts are somehow overcharging for their services.

When I got into the hosting business, the plans we sold were $19.95 and $29.95 a month. That was for 25 or 50 MB of storage, respectively.

Yes, you read that right, megabytes.

In addition to that, there were set up fees of $39.95 and $59.95. In those early days, circa 1996/97, domain name registration was another $100 ($50 a year, and you had to pay for two years up front). Costs added up quickly.

I’ll leave the inflation calculations to you, but today’s prices will never really be comparative since there are no longer 25 or 50 MB hosting accounts. Not to mention that the infrastructure, speed, quality, and security are all about a thousand (or more) times better today than they were in the dark old days of the mid-1990s.

People who know what time it is accept higher fees as a reasonable trade-off for premium service. But those who find premium service prices too high seem to share a misguided mindset brought about by the web that everything should be free. And things that aren’t free – like website hosting – should all be the same price.

Which is kind of like going into a Bentley car dealership and telling the salespeople that you can go down the street and get a Ford for a tenth of what they asking. It’s true, you can. But while they’re both cars, the products are quite different.

buying a Bentley
I’m here for my Bentley!

Did the internet create that kind of thought distortion where the cost of products is concerned? I don’t remember it being a thing pre-internet. I feel like back in the day, we expected to pay more for quality products than we would for their lesser counterparts.

But on the internet, the value of services, for a lot of people, is zero.

I’m certainly not putting down anyone who believes the cost of a particular product or service is high. Often they are. But it’s usually for a good reason. Not always, but usually.

That’s why we’re all here. Some of us in one basket, others in another, perhaps lower-priced basket. And others still are in the most very highly-priced baskets (hello, Bentley drivers!).

The good news is there’s something out there for everyone. The bad news, I suppose, is all of those things are not created equal. And we pay accordingly.

Or so I always thought.

day 56


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