Apparently there is such a thing as a free lunch. Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails capitalized on offering their music for free, Google lets us search, e-mail and use all kinds of free applications, and AT&T will give you a cell phone gratis, if you just buy their monthly plan. These are only a fraction of the businesses that have helped to establish a full-fledged economy based on the concept of zero dollars down.
Wired's Chris Anderson explains the recent phenomenon of making lots of money by charging nothing. Is everything moving toward "free now, pay later"? What are the consequences?
Chris Anderson has served as editor in chief of WIRED since 2001. Under his leadership, the magazine has garnered nine National Magazine Awards and 19 additional nominations and has won the prestigious top prize for General Excellence three times. In 2010, AdWeek named WIRED the Magazine of the Decade. Anderson is the author of two New York Times best sellers, The Long Tail and Free: The Future of a Radical Price, both of which are based on influential articles published in WIRED. He is also a cofounder of 3D Robotics, an open source robotics company. Before joining WIRED, he was a business and technology editor at The Economist. He began his media career at the two premier science journals, Nature and Science. In 2007, Anderson was named to the Time 100, the news magazine’s annual list of the world’s most influential people.
Kerry Curtis is a professor emeritus at Golden Gate University and a member of the board of the Commonwealth Club of California.
Wired editor and author Chris Anderson explains Microsoft's rather progressive stance on pirating. Microsoft takes a long view on young companies (and developing countries) who pirate its software, gambling that early exposure will lead to future business and increased profits for the software giant.
Wired editor and author Chris Anderson speculates that the low cost of digital publishing may facilitate newspapers to generate sufficient revenue by charging subscriptions for premium content, thus cutting off dependency on advertisers and saving the industry.
I don't agree that old media had well separated consumer and advertiser interests. An obvious example is the volume of TV ads -- on many TV channels ads are much louder than content, and I fail to see how could that be in any way good for the viewers.
Another example is the very thing Chris talked about in the story about a Google guy, who was surprised that Chris was trying to hide commercial ties between the magazine and advertisers by moving ads away from articles about related products.