The fine print; always worth a second…third look

Living in a world having a potent mix of constantly on mobile connections coupled with  culture of instant gratification, leaves us with our guard down making us targets of savvy marketers and scammers . In plain sight and without putting up a fight we hand over the keys to our data vaults, domiciled in our devices and numerous other online services that we sign up for.

Many sites have terms and conditions that are loaded with jargon and go into many pages that put many consumers off reading the entire copy, opting to click on the check box and continue to complete service signup. Mobile applications too, have become notorious for asking for your soul via cleverly worded application permissions that we are never bothered to read. The most recent example of this is the much publicized launch of an album by Jay Z – a popular hip-hop artist who in partnership with a leading phone manufacturer,  was going to give his entire album for free to one million fans. The only way to unlocking this value, was via a mobile application that would at a set date, provide exclusive download to the album.

Here is the clincher – when its free, your are more often than not the product on sale and this became apparent from the depth of access to mobile device functions – call logs, storage etc and other personal services such as Twitter and Facebook that the app requested.

The fine print focus is not only for social networks and mobile applications but also for services that and SME’s and even corporates may use in day to day operations. These portend more to service levels that may be available to use. If  your business is reliant on certain services as “mission critical ” to your service delivery, often times within the terms and conditions, a premium provision will be made available for 24/7 call in support and downtime  mitigation. What is given most visibility while marketing for many services is a baseline offering. Justifiably so, when dealing in services, you pay  for “human time “beyond the processes which have been automated.

Next time you sign up for a service or download that chart topping application, take a minute to see the full length of the exchange you are about to get into. You may be buying yourself short if you go for the most affordable option for a business critical service, or may sell your soul on that free app.

An Africa based entrepreneur in the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled striving to build services that have real-world value for my beloved continent and beyond while having fun along the way.

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