The Future of Free

I do not believe things should be free. It creates anarchy.

I believe it is in the human nature not to appreciate what is free. If somebody gives us something for free, most of us take it for granted as if it never happened.

And that creates the problem with free.

Because free also needs to make living somehow. But it got it's business model all wrong because we are not appreciative enough.

How do I know? If we were paying for the air we breathe I bet we would care more for our environment. That's just the way we are.


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23 Comments

  1. roos
    Jun 24th, 2010

    You have to find the right business model for "free". the most successful websites are free (think google, facebook, youtube, etc.). they provide most of their services for free, but they have found their right business model (advertisement, premium, etc.). Every niche on the web should appreciate and take advantage of the "free" model.

  2. Jun 15th, 2010

    A little off topic though I think you (Kalin) may need to find another girlfriend.

  3. Jun 3rd, 2010

    great debate my friend !!! And one which you and I have talked about many times before ! People will pay for things worth paying for !

  4. Something for nothing/ beta is a great way to market test new software. The problem is not the software vendor, but our perception of "FREE" For example I just upgraded to a new iPhone 3GS. I spent the first few days downloading free apps (some where good and some we'rewell, erm...lets just say they were not fit for purpose shall we. But when you read the reviews - people we're slagging it off as if it had costed them mega bucks. If you don't like it, say something encouraging/ don't use it, simple. Gosh, some people

  5. joanindo
    May 30th, 2010

    You're saying: "If we were paying for the air we breathe I bet we would care more for our environment. " This kind of sentence that drives us to the destruction of civilization. And this kind of sentence that every government in the world would love to hear from its citizens.

  6. shawn
    May 29th, 2010

    Maybe I am one of the 'weird' ones, but when I get something for free, I don't expect anything in return. However when I pay for something, I tend to expect a lot more from it.

    WordPress is a perfect example.
    If something does not work in wp, I don't rant and rave all over the place. I try not to even complain about it. That doesn't mean I won't request a fix, or try to do it myself, I just don't expect a fix.

    However, if I purchase a product, and actually pay for it, then I find myself getting aggravated when something doesn't work right and I don't get a response back. Maybe I even push it to far sometimes, though I am learning not to.

    If I am using an add-on or plugin that I got for free, and it doesn't work, more often than not, I will send a small donation to try to 'nudge' the developer into fixing it. If the developer doesn't then I don't complain. Afterall, it was free in the first place.

    If it's an article on a blog or something that gives me some value, then at the very least, I try to leave a kind thank you for the information. Besides, gaining information from a post many times is much more valuable to me than simply downloading something. I learn to fish instead of being given a fish.

    Love your blog btw.. thank you!

  7. May 28th, 2010

    I agree partly, because those things which are for free like green grass in a meadow, sunbath siting in the park ect. could make you so grateful.. in a moment. If you know that truth, you can manage with your selfcontrol. Responsibility - that is the key word. I believe, every single person in their life pay for the consequences.

  8. May 27th, 2010

    I believe "free" is good in moderation. However, when given in excess, it becomes the norm and everyone expects it and thus it makes it difficult for you to ever charge without upsetting your audience.
    When you have to pay for something, you value it more.

  9. May 27th, 2010

    Why post to your blog and let us read this content for free. Because you assume that either free is good or that you will be paid down the line on a project such as a speaking engagements etc. I don't believe that money is a long term deterrent for any social disobedience just like getting a pay increase has been shown to only temporarily motivate people to be more productive. No one can work for free but I don't believe that money is the only payment for a service. Many open source projects as you know only have pride of contribution for payment and the knowledge one learns on the free projects can be turned into hard cash in many ways.

    Cliff

    • May 28th, 2010

      I post and create fueled by passion, and most of open source projects are. After 3 years of doing it I begin feeling weared out. Is it not possible that in order for something to be sustainable over longer period of time it needs to have 'fuel reserve' as well?

  10. May 27th, 2010

    Those of you who think Free is not sustainable are either ignoring the truth of free software, or you don't realize what is possible!

    Firefox is appreciated by more than a third of Internet users.
    Firefox is sustainable over the long term.
    Firefox developers make a living and pay their bills including groceries and sports cars.
    Firefox creators have an insane amount of profit from Firefox.
    Firefox is completely free and open source software.

    Firefox is not the only example. I make free websites for a living. I get paid and my boss makes plenty of money off my work. Free software is a viable business model.

    The Humble Indy Bundle proves that Free can also be sold for (a lot of ) money if done smartly.

    • May 28th, 2010

      Firefox is free to users, but there have been $millions sunk into its development. Someone has to pay to keep the lights on and other costs, whether or not it's the end user.

      • May 28th, 2010

        And if you get paid to create websites, how exactly is that free? Shifted costs do not equal free.

  11. May 27th, 2010

    Very true! Free has now become something that has no value. Charging, even a minimal amount, creates a value. Sometimes a high price works to the advantage of proving the service or product is unsurpassed. Capitalism is not a bad word.

  12. May 27th, 2010

    Right on, Vladimir. Free works OK for brief periods for specific reasons, but free is not sustainable. Eventually, you have to buy groceries and pay the electric bill.

  13. May 27th, 2010

    Agreed 100%. Making money is not a crime and should not be looked at as such. Problem is, the "digital generation" just assumes that there is not cost in making a record, movie or digital content - will be interesting to see how that plays out over the next 20 years as they enter the workforce...

  14. May 27th, 2010

    Very well put. BTW, I hope this is not a prefix for charging for your plugins :)

  15. micha
    May 27th, 2010

    I would pay you for your great plugins!

  16. May 27th, 2010

    holly true! Basicly we are simple and a bit of stupid (no offence for all) and we do things very simple. Pay - care, not pay - don't care.. if we get something easy we don't pay attention for that, but if we need to work it somehow we care more about that.

  17. May 27th, 2010

    I can fully agree with you, Vladimir.

    From my personal experience, too - the people don't appreciate the free stuff.
    Lately, I think twice before I give away something for free.

  18. May 27th, 2010

    You are genius. I had an argument with someone else the other day about selling premium plugins. I think that as soon as you assign a value into something (i.e. a WordPress plugin), people will start appreciating it more.

    • May 28th, 2010

      Problems appear when people call something premium, which should just be called 'paid' or 'with a price tag'. 'Premium' comes with greater responsibility.

  19. May 27th, 2010

    Couldn't agree more, everyone still needs to make a living and how's paying the bill?