The FREE business model, as Chris Anderson explains

Chris Anderson’s discussion of FREE online business models raise many of the same questions that my posts about advertising-driven and subscription-driven media models did after the Future of Media Summit 2008. Read people’s comments on his original post.

This is a key debate taking place worldwide as traditional/print/atom/physical (call it what you like) businesses look to translate their revenue generation model online, as they acknowledge the growing impact of the digital space.

I had a meeting today with a travel agent who has a website. Their site, however, is nothing more than manually controlled brochure ware for events and prices. They didn’t recognise the significance of search engine traffic, the potential for ongoing interaction with clients, or the ability to offer FREE advice and information to new visitors. I could go on. You don’t think about a travel agent being involved in the FREE economy, however, they have built up so much specialised information which they happily pass on to people over the phone, or across the desk on a regular basis that they ARE giving away valuable ‘intellectual property’ without having it clearly packaged-up and branded. This content can easily be ‘wrapped and branded’ as important, FREE product that will assist travelers, particularly in highly-targeted markets. Will this sell travel services? If the information is valuable and engaging, it’s a reflection of the type of service you will provide. And people want to buy valuable and engaging services and products.

Here’s what Chris Anderson has to say about FREE:-


FREE: the cocktail party version

When you’re writing a book you need to have your elevator pitch down or “What’s the book about?” will become the most dreaded four words you can hear (followed closely by “how’s it going?”).

Obviously the one-sentence version of the answer should be something close to the book’s subtitle. But I haven’t nailed that one down yet, so these days I just say “The economics of zero dollars and zero cents” and hope for the best. Some people glaze over and move on at that point, but for those who stop, intrigued, and ask me to explain, here’s what I say:

We all know free–it’s a trick that marketers use. But free is changing. When you think about it, there are two economies, one of atoms and one of bits. In the atoms economy, which is to say most of the stuff around us, things tend to get more expensive over time. But in the bits economy, which is the online world, things get cheaper. The atoms economy is inflationary, while the bits economy is deflationary.

The 20th Century was primarily an atoms economy. The 21st Century will be equally a bits economy. This book is about the differences between 20th Century free and 21st Century free–free moving from a marketing trick to a new economic model.

Anything free in the atoms economy must be paid for by something else, which is why so much traditional free feels like bait and switch–it’s you paying, one way or another. But free in the bits economy can be really free, with money often taken out of the equation altogether. People are rightly suspicious of free in the atoms economy, and rightly trusting of free in the bits economy. Intuitively, they understand the difference between the two, and why free works so well online.

– For more see: The Long Tail – Wired Blogs.

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TechNation Australia » Kwoff Gets Picked Up By More Big Media

I just read this story on TechNation and wanted to re-post it as I concur absolutely. I have also met with Dan Walsh from Kwoff and highly recommend the site. I have had many discussions with colleagues about the value of a site like Kwoff for Australia and we agree that it is almost impossible to target or reach an Australian audience through Digg currently. Walsh’s co-founders are Stephen Mayne from Crikey and Greg Barnes. You can see Stephen Mayne put Dan ‘under the hammer’ on The Mayne Report.


Kwoff Gets Picked Up By More Big Media

October 1, 2008 9:08 am Kim Heras

Social news aggregator Kwoff continues to get picked up by more and more publishers looking to leverage the social web. Not long ago a link to kwoff was added under all online articles on the Daily Telegraph’s site. Now they’ve been added to News’s Victorian tabloid, the Herald Sun as well as the Illawarra Mercury, which is Fairfax’s regional newspaper for Wollongong and the surrounding areas.

There are 3 things that make me happy about this

1. It shows an even greater commitment by leading media outlets to social news

2. Both News and Fairfax could have stuck with Digg etc. but chose to add an Aussie site

3. Kwoff co-founder Dan Walsh (who I’ve spoken to several times) is a nice guy and it makes me happy to see nice guys doing well.

Actually, next time you’re posting something to Digg/Reddit etc. why not add Kwoff to your list? It’ll only take a few extra seconds but you’ll be supporting the local industry.

via TechNation Australia » Blog Archive » Kwoff Gets Picked Up By More Big Media.

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Chris Anderson explains the long tail

UK-based site is a “global network of video blogs covering the web 2.0 and technology ecosystem”. They interviewed Chris Anderson about The Long Tail at a recent conference and asked why people have attacked his theories, business models and philosophies about the internet. Anderson also discusses his motivations and key concepts in this interesting video.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Chris Anderson Interview“, posted with vodpod

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