Are Internet Freebies On The Way Out?
We have ridden a long wave of Internet freebies. Free ISPs,
free e-books, free ezines, free email accounts, free
software programs; you name it, and it has been on the
Internet as some type of freebie.
We have all taken advantage of these freebies, some of us
more than others. Many of these came with a small price tag
such as providing your email address or other personal
information and/or agreeing to accept a certain amount of
advertising in exchange for the freebie.
Some freebies were not worth the time it took to download
and install them, and others were literally worth their
weight in gold. Some of us went into a freebie frenzy,
downloading everything that we found for free. We wound up
with so many ebooks and programs we didn't have time to read
or use them and they wound up simply taking space on our
More and more Internet businesses are finding it fruitless
to give away freebies which do not produce buying customers.
Making a profit is the bottom line for any business. Where
there is no profit motive it is a hobby and not a business.
Recent events indicate a strong movement toward less
freebies. The search engines are a leading indicator. Some
of the largest search engines have gone from free to paid
listings. There is a growing trend of ezine publishers
switching to a paid subscription model from the old free
model. Other ezines which provided valuable information and
services have simply stopped publishing.
One of the larger free email providers has recently started
charging a minimal fee for its services. Will this spread
to the other free email providers?
Look around the Internet and you will find more web sites
closing. Many of these sites provided valuable services and
products, however they could not continue in business
without showing a profit. It is very difficult to compete
with free. The current line of thinking seems to be to
settle for the lesser free service or product rather than
pay for quality products and services.
We have grown to consider these freebies as a right rather
than a privilege and therefore resent losing them. This is
unjust because we expect to be properly paid for our own
efforts. Most of us cannot afford to work for free, yet we
expect others to do just that.
Our entire civilization is based on trading what we produce
for what others produce. It is a very simple concept.
Produce nothing and get nothing in return. Yet many of us
expect something for nothing.
Time and effort translate into money, and it takes time and
effort to produce and distribute freebies. Without a
profitable return on the freebies there is little or no
reason to provide them.
What happens to the Internet when the for-profit businesses
are forced out of existence by freebies? Will we still have
freebies? And if so, what quality of service or product can
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