Google is often quoted as the best example. Go free then work out how to be paid later. Well Google and its algorithm dominates the Internet Ad work, so I guess – go free until you are the only player – then make em pay would be the true example from Google. Hard for everyone to be the dominant player on the Internet I would guess.
But now there is the book from Chris Anderson -’ Free-the future of a radical price’ (and to promote the idea, the book is free on Kindle, Google books and Scribd.
Then a great post at Mashable by Stan Schroeder ‘You think Free is Only about Price’ here’s a quote -
“free will not last forever. No one has to be afraid of free, because it’s just a transitional phase in the history of the Internet.”
‘key issue is not the price. It’s one piece of the puzzle; but there is also ease of use, the quality of the user experience, availability, the time it takes to do something. In the end, free is price like any other”
The gist is that in Chris Anderson’s take and Stan Schroeders – just as we are given ‘free’ TV or were before cable, in return we agreed to watch the Brands ads. So now Companies will have to learn how to make a new contract with consumer where we agree to participate in some form in their product or advertising or perhaps agree to allow a one time subscription charge to get the ‘free’ content.
Either way, and always, they – the companies -have to find a contract that works for the consumer and themselves. Because in the end where it says ‘free’ somewhere the consumer always pays. We just have to be agreeable to the form of payment.