Does anyone else remember the days when most (if not all) of the things that you could "subscribe" to were printed on paper and delivered either a) to the front porch (or the driveway, the rosebush next to the picture window, the low-hanging branches of the maple tree on the front lawn — it's hard to aim things from a bicycle seat or the back of a station wagon), or b) to your mailbox? Newspapers, magazines, catalogs, or maybe the latest selection from Book of the Month club.
Now you can get everything from soup or socks, from shaving kits to streaming video, delivered for the cost of a monthly fee. Sometimes it's an annual fee, or even a weekly fee, but the point is not to debate the correct interval between recurring charges. The point is that you can't just buy something and own it anymore. I mean, you can, sure, but that's not the direction that we're headed in. Capitalists of every stripe want us to live in a pay-as-you-go world where everything is on a subscription plan.
One of the more controversial arenas where the subscription model has flourished, to the point of edging out one-time purchaseable product almost entirely, is the software sector. Remember when you would buy the latest version of, say, Adobe Photoshop for $150 and then use it for five or six years? Rather than release new versions of popular products and wait for people to buy them, software vendors now want to sell you those popular products with an indefinite revenue stream attached.
The benefit to you, supposedly, is a steady flow of modifications and improvements. You get "free" upgrades to new versions or releases — as though you're not paying for that already, by the month, year, etc. — and better customer service. (Don't even get us started on the fact that "customer service," in 2019, is generally a link to a searchable database of questions that, er, verified users of the product have hopefully answered. Maybe even answered correctly, if you're feeling lucky.)
You may have noticed that all of this angst is emanating from a blog for a software vendor that charges a monthly fee to use its products. The difference here is that you don't need to buy, say, CompTIA A+ training for a year, or even six months. You want to buy it for as long as you need to get trained and certified. Once you have the certification, after all, what's the point of taking up space on your hard drive with a series of videos or practice labs or text lessons?
When you purchase our training, we expect you use it for as long as you need it, and then stop using it. And, more to the point, stop paying for it. The next time that you need us, come back and sign up again. We'll still be here, quietly improving our product and continuing to provide the best certification training on the market. Sometimes it actually does make sense to pay for something via subscription. Just wait until we get our monthly new socks service up and running.
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