Enough with the free

Written by James
10
May

Two good articles today on catering to the free, or not. The Guardian’s The end of the age of free and SEO Book’s Who’s opinion matters, from which it is worth sharing:

“One of my biggest business flaws was perhaps starting off with a fairly low self-esteem. Because of that, I catered toward people who were whiny, wanted free stuff, and never had any intent of buying anything. Being naive, and wanting to be liked too much, I catered to such worthless people…”

Maybe it’s also to do with being a iPhone convert and paying for more and more services (like SEOMoz, Pingdom, MailChimp etc.) or maybe it’s just me growing up, because it’s OK to charge!

Of course, ‘worthless people’ is putting it a bit strongly – I mean, someone isn’t worthless just because they don’t want to give you money… your friends, or people you can share ideas with, or a drink, or links etc.

But at the end of the day, I’ve had more experience than most with people who aren’t prepared to shell out the price of a cup of coffee a month for what you provide them – but are more than happy to moan, whinge and be aholes about what you have done for them (or what you might be asking them to charge for).

It’s a perspective, a matter of values and a matter of personality.

Maybe it’s one of the reasons that our WordPress MU forums are frequently more used these days that the genuine WPMU forums!

More reading on this if yer interested: The Economics of Giving it Away & When Talking About Business Models, Remember That Profits Equal Revenues Minus Costs.

  1. aaron wall

    I don’t think someone is worthless if they are not a customer. But I think they tend to have a negative value if they offer no money and whine about getting stuff for free. That was more the level I was trying to write from. ;)

    Thanks for the mention!

  2. Heh, was clarifying myself rather than you :)

    It’s a massively important and value subject right now too – I enjoyed the article and thanks for swinging by to leave a comment.