Shoestring Theory

Currently documenting the house that is eating our lives, we will return to regularly scheduled programming in a couple of more months

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How the “Free” business model works

February 28, 2008 at 4:07 pm by thetheorist

Wired’s got an interesting piece up on the nature of business models that rely on a “Free” product. Think things like flickr, YouTube, Jonathan Coulton, Facebook, etc, though the opportunities range far beyond that. It’s not groundbreaking, but strikes me as more of an introduction to an in-depth conversation. Which is convenient, as Chris Anderson (the author of the piece and editor of Wired) has a book titled FREE coming out next year.

I remember getting into an argument with my dad several years ago about the nature of the Internet and free content. He insisted that all that free stuff would go away and eventually everything online would be a pay service of one form or another. Dad wasn’t exactly wrong, he just didn’t realize who would be paying (often not the consumer) or that the price might not always be money.

I love comments sections (and great examples of why you should think before you write one). From the comments on this story:

Posted by: ihsanalshorafa
Dear Editors,

Please be advised that this article is substantially plagiarizing an article published in The Economist news publication. Such behavior is not becoming of a magazine as original as yours. The article published in The Economist can be found at

The Economist

It was published in November 2007

And the reply:

Posted by: sklassen
You do realize Chris Anderson also wrote that Economist article?

I don’t know what the legalities of plagiarizing yourself are.

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