Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business
The most common of the economies built around free is the three-party system. Here a third party pays to participate in a market created by a free exchange between the first two parties. Sound complicated? You're probably experiencing it right now. It's the basis of virtually all media.
In the traditional media model, a publisher provides a product free (or nearly free) to consumers, and advertisers pay to ride along. Radio is "free to air," and so is much of television. Likewise, newspaper and magazine publishers don't charge readers anything close to the actual cost of creating, printing, and distributing their products. They're not selling papers and magazines to readers, they're selling readers to advertisers. It's a three-way market.
What's free: Web software and services, some content. Free to whom: users of the basic version.
What's free: content, services, software, and more. Free to whom: everyone.
What's free: any product that entices you to pay for something else. Free to whom: everyone willing to pay eventually, one way or another.
· Zero marginal cost
What's free: things that can be distributed without an appreciable cost to anyone. Free to whom: everyone.
- Labor exchange
What's free: Web sites and services. Free to whom: all users, since the act of using these sites and services actually creates something of value.
· Gift economy
What's free: the whole enchilada, be it open source software or user-generated content. Free to whom: everyone.