Monday, July 13, 2009

Is free the future of price?

Samuel Johnson said, “No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.” That may have been true once upon a time, but by that measure our modern digital world is full of blockheads. As it turns out, people want to contribute and be creative. They want to produce content and then make it available to the world, an activity that provides its own reward. These content creators have invented the business model of "free."

But in this new non-revenue model, do you get what you pay for? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. According to Virginia Postrel of The New York Times, free doesn't mean "without value" any more than price guarantees value.

The issue of free content and its distribution over the Internet is the subject of Chris Anderson's new book, titled, Free: The Future of a Radical Price.

“People are making lots of money charging nothing,” writes Anderson. “Not nothing for everything, but nothing for enough that we have essentially created an economy as big as a good-sized country around the price of $0.00.”

Read Postrel's review of Free: The Future of a Radical Price.

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