It’s time to cleanse ourselves and confess all the subscriptions services we’re not paying for.
First off: There’s nothing wrong with using someone else’s login—morally, anyway—although it probably breaks some Terms of Service agreements. But in this economy of stagnant wages and longer hours, it’s the modern equivalent of clipping coupons. Friends agree to join a cell phone carrier’s family plan together for the discounts. Trading a Hulu login for an HBO with whoever happens to be within arm’s length is no worse. It’s just something we do now, and have done since internet bandwidth became cheap enough to make these services feasible.
A dilemma (or opportunity, as some might see it) arises when you and a subscription sharer part ways. Do you continue to indefinitely “borrow” an account by justifying that, well, it doesn’t cost them anything extra, and I’m a nice person who deserves nice things for free. But how do you keep from getting caught?
A Reddit user posted a screenshot today of what they claim is an ex’s Netflix account. They made an account named ‘Add User’. This is dumb. Two ‘Add User’ icons is a big red flag and far more suspicious than messing up an estranged lover’s Recently Watched queue. One commenter suggested toggling off the ‘For Kids’ option and making a second user named ‘For Kids.’
I pay for Netflix like the adult I’m struggling to be, but that’s about it. Amazon Prime I’ve been borrowing unawares from a roommate three apartments ago. (A Prime customer can share the service’s perks with another account if they’re located at the same address. New addresses can be added down the line. You’re welcome, Lifehacker.) My partner and I split the cost of a New York Times Crossword app subscription and clear out the day’s puzzles for each other when we finish. We used her sister’s HBO Go account to watch Game of Thrones.
Do you have the credentials for one of the six people still paying for Tidal? Did you inherit Spotify from a past relationship? Almost everyone I’ve asked about the topic of login-sharing has some story about how they finagled free shit out of someone they barely know, no longer know, or wish they never knew in the first place. We’d like to hear yours below.