Day by Day



22 July 2009

Free, today only...

Chris Hoofnagle at Denialism Blog Blog points out a book review by Malcolm Gladwell  of Chris Anderson’s work.  In the article he posits that FREE will never be a viable price.  I concur.  For many who advocate letting advertising pay for everything (or medical savings to pay for healthcare costs), let me offer the following;

 

There is no free.  Anderson is capitalizing on the work and infrastructure which had a decided and measurable cost.  Anderson’s analogy of a “Freemium (minority pay, subsidizing majority free)” is perfect.  At sometime the whole of the web was built and paid for by someone.  Your computer was paid for and it allows all sorts of "free access", but you already paid for the computer, the access, the wifi card, the time to learn to "download". 

 

The argument can be expanded to almost anything.  There will be no free healthcare - it must be paid for by someone (perhaps the "freemium" model will prevail).  Public radio is not free - you have paid for it in a hundred subtle ways - including the purchase of a radio receiver. 

 

We are simply not recognizing the impact of micro-monetization and the value it brings to a provider.  Without middlemen and distributors, those content providers can reap their rewards directly, however, the amount that they reap - due to the new pricing model - is typically far lower than expected, but likely a more accurate representation of market value.