Is it possible that the companies who give away open source programs and earn from additional features are forcing their customers to buy premium, costly services by dishonest tactics and means? Can we assume that the hacking attacks such as Brute Force Attacks and Malware Injections are backed up by these so-called open-source companies so the user habituated to use their products moves to the expensive features and options to have the product function smoothly? That’s like throwing nails on road to keep your garage running.
It’s not a new trick. There must be many industries doing this. The pharmaceutical industry has been many times accused to spread fatal diseases so they can sell their newly ‘invented’ drugs, 9/11 is said to be fabricated by US to keep selling their expensive weapons, new PC viruses are made and spread everyday so that the ant-virus products could sell, and in similar way, the open source products could be using this technique by slowing down their product performances and forcing users to upgrade to the ones which brings money to these ‘free-sharing’ companies or buy security features which protects sites/products from the similar attacks mentioned above.
All of these are similar to that garage.
Maximizing business two, three or more times by generating a forced demand.
The original, genuine demand which would generate only when the customer genuinely needs a product would comparatively won’t grow as fast or won’t make the companies money in the pace which forced demand provides.
This is maybe the new business model secretly accepted and is becoming a standard in every industry without the knowledge of the normal customer. First make the customers habituated of your product and then force them to buy it (the “free, open source” product is just a ploy to sell the whole product). And not just once. Make them again and again by creating new scenarios.
Let’s take the tech giant Apple as an example. They say, Apple deliberately makes their previous versions of iPhones and every other products slow just before the advent of their new product. As the customer using old phone/product feels irritated, he decides to buy the latest hardware launched by the company and feels happy for that. Even the people with perfect products finds their products slow, faulty or attacked by bugs. In such situation, what a harassed customer would do? Move to the option which sets him free from those problems. Though, one or two years passes and the same problems rises again and he once again moves to the newer hardware or software or the security feature. All the while, the customer blames the product becoming old. But, why should that happen if your product hardware is in perfect condition and you are factory-resetting the phone, which means it becomes as new as it was on the day of its launch. Then why this problem persists?
Again, dishonest selling technique. They just want people keep buying their products from time to time. Reasons behind all these techniques are understandable. It spikes up sales and in a huge margin. They wants to sell the new product to you and take money from your pockets for the same thing (with some extra features) which you bought a couple of years ago and for that the previous products need to feel bad and obsolete before the arrival of new. This selling technique is called Planned Obsolescence and this term is known since the Great Depression. The best example for planned obsolescence is a laptop battery with 12 months warranty suddenly stops working after twelve months (personal experience). There is no way around but to buy a new battery or get expensive services as the warranty period is over.
Regarding to website services, the garage owner with nails scenario could be applied as the open-source product providers making their products slow and forcing them upgrade to the paid versions or bombarding sites with malware and other attacks making them purchase the expensive security packages.
While selling a product for $50 upfront, those companies can’t acquire a large user base and get popular. But, they can do it by giving it away for free and after a certain while making the users pay for it.
Thus, the free product is the goat in the cage and we are the consumers entering into the cage tagged as ‘free food’. We can say that Open Source, to some extent, has become just another way to sell things. We call it The Paid Open Source.
Stating our own experience lately, on our many sites, we were struck by many spam attacks, brute force attacks and various other attacks causing our sites to get slow or having other security related problems (which also got us as much as 140 mails per hour alerting about them). We asked and marked a jump in similar complaints among other site-owners. Another thing we noticed was that at the same time these sudden attacks were carried out, we (and many other site owners in our circle) were introduced to the new ‘security packages’ launched recently. In one way you can say it was a response of the WordPress and other security companies against those threats, in another scenario you can guess those threats were generated deliberately by a party who can gain some advantage from such predicament. Who could it be?
The garage owner, most probably.
You could read about our experience in detail in our next article, which also features information about how we bypassed the ‘upgrade to the expensive’ option and still protected our sites from the attacks and made them run smooth, without spending a dime.