How To Make Money in a Free World

February 4, 2008

After reading Seth Godin’s blog that linked to Kevin Kelly’s blog I knew that this would be my post for the week. Being someone who is thinking on furthering my studies and marketing, and a student who is writing a research paper on marketing I really took interest in the “Eight Generatives Better Than Free”;

1.Immediacy- This is not as big of an issue for me personally since I am fairly patient but, to some having an item as soon as possible is a huge deal. I’m more of a sit back and wait to have it copied and I get it for free, or wait until it lowers in demand and the price consequently falls. But as Kevin stated, people are willing to pay for immediacy, and I don’t believe that will ever change.

2.Personalization- The type of personalization that Kevin is talking about here would be very expensive and while I don’t think there is a huge market for this, there are people who are willing to pay to have products tailored to them. Unless I get some serious coin coming in I can’t see me getting Aspirin customized to my DNA, or having a book tailored to my reading. I think the examples given were a little crazy my self, but obviously someone must pay for them.

3. Interpretation- This is a classic example of “sure I’ll give you a cigarette, but a light is five bucks” and it’s true and most likely will always be that way. The example that he gives of giving away software than having the support that tells you how to use the program be quite expensive. While this will make money, I always look at this type of money making as a scheme and it really bothers me. It’s like someone on ebay posting a small price and then ridiculous prices for shipping. Unless it is well advertised before the sale or the giving away of the software I find this type of business to be too sneaky for my liking.

4. Authenticity- Well I am one for authenticity, I can’t stand reproductions of paintings or cloned car parts. I like the originals, the ones you can trust. I will however cheap out on a few things, such as music, right now while I’m in school I really can’t justify paying for my music online when I can get it for free. When I finally settle in with a good job I will most likely start paying for some music especially from smaller local bands who don’t receive the revenue of larger bands. I am definitely willing to pay a little more for authenticity. To some this is a major issue and they would not settle for anything but the original, but some of us are willing to just settle for a cheap replacement.

5. Accessibility- This is an interesting idea that you can store all your information somewhere online for a small fee and access if from anywhere. I know Photobucket and sites like it stores your photos for free and I can access it from anywhere. But what I think he is getting at here is that basically it’s like having your own little section of the Internet as extra computer memory, only this memory is accessible from anywhere you can get an Internet connection. I think I would be willing to pay a small fee for this, especially when I get a lap top, or if I ever started to use a blackberry.

6. Embodiment- The major example they use that strikes me as true is the concert where people pay for the experience. They could download the live recording of the concert but it’s the sensation of being here, the personal experience. I’m not big on concerts, not so much that I don’t like crowds, it’s more that I don’t like people, and crowds tend to be full of them. However I do love the experience of most concerts, and it’s like a car show, sure I could look at pictures from the show for free but I would rather pay to go in and see them all for myself.

7. Patronage- If you can develop such a loyal fan base that they are willing to pay for their songs to support you instead of downloading them for free then I think you can consider yourself to have made it. Sure you could be making more money if everyone paid for CD’s like they use to, but you could be also making a lot less money that you currently are if you didn’t have a loyal fan base. I think that this is a growing trend that I really like to see. It seems to me that I hear of more and more people that are actually paying for music as compared to just downloading it for free. That being said there will always be people who will cheap out and take what they can get for free, but there is also something gained by that person who paid for their product or service. The feeling of being able to sleep at night, knowing they did nothing wrong, perhaps that they did something right in helping out an Artist.

8. Findability- If you can’t find something then it is impossible to get it. What Kevin is getting at here I think is that it is easier to find something that requires purchasing than it is to find something that you can get for free. As paying sites for music get larger and larger this is becoming more true. There is a very good chance that you can go and pay for a song today easier than you could go search for it and download it for free. Some items are also nearly impossible to find for free. A song I was looking to get for free for a long time turned up no signs of the song at all, and I eventually got my brother to get it, he says he bought it, but his roommate also told me he downloaded it off the internet for free, so I’m not sure which it was. I was just listening to a link on CBC radio of the song for quite some time. But since I wasn’t able to find it for some time, I resorted to buying it. So like he said if you can make something scarce in the free world, you can charge for it.

While there are a lot of truths to these examples I think a lot of them are only going to be able to charge for some time before the free world takes over. However he does raise some good points about how Marketing should be done today, and how you can make products generate revenue again when it had appeared as if the free world had taken over.




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