Friday, July 3, 2009

The 'Free' Debate

One of the fun questions that is often asked at dinner parties and in light-hearted interviews is “Who would you most like to have dinner with?”

The question conjures up the image of a bunch of important people sitting around the table and chewing the fat over a lively debate of world-changing ideas.

The internet is offered as a provider of all things wonderful and I’m pleased to say it can also ‘invite you to dinner with some great minds’. Or, at least let you eavesdrop.

Right now, there is a great debate on the internet… Ah, yes, literally, about the internet and on the internet.

Some of the great minds of digital technology, internet marketing, big ideas and the like are having a ‘free’ debate.

It all started with Chris Anderson of The Long Tail fame (Book Rapper Make Money From Niches) and Editor of Wired Magazine. He’s written a book called ‘Free’ and we discussed this in an earlier blog “Free Chris Anderson”.

Well, his book “Free: The Past and Present of a Radical Price” is to be released in the next couple of days (July 7). And, it’s likely to cause a storm – if it hasn’t already.

Malcolm Gladwell of ‘Blinking Tipping Points for Outliers’ fame, (Book Rapper’s Anti Self Help), suggested in a review in the New Yorker, he didn’t think ‘free’ would work.

Then along came Seth Godin, of ‘Tribes of Purple Cows eating Meatball Sundaes’ fame (Book Rapper’s Marketing How Now). He suggested in his blog post that Malcolm had got it wrong. ‘Free’ was not some philosophical position, just another marketing move that works.

It reminds me of one of the people I'd like to have dinner with, the late great Marshall McLuhan. We can have opinions about planes, trains and automobiles, but in the end, who cares? Technology or media does what it does. Opinions about it being good or bad matter little if it works.

A bunch of other smart people have now joined the ‘free’ conversation. One more chair at the dinner table please…

If you’d like to eavesdrop on some great thinkers thinking about a highly topical issue, then follow the threads in this post.

Alternatively, start with Tim Berry on the Huffington Post. He gives a good overview of the issue and adds a few more mouthfuls from some new dinner party guests.

So, if you want to have some great thinkers and wonderful debate at your dinner table, do it over the net. Virtual dinner parties are probably a good thing for your hips, thighs and waistlines too!

Join in today, it's free!

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, February 16, 2009

We Blog - RAP2 - The Blog Medium - Getting Great Results for Your Blog

Here's our third slideshow RAP of We Blog: How to Create Your Own Media Channel.
It's derived from Michael A Bank's Blogging Heroes.

This RAP looks at "The Blog Medium". The better we understand the Blog Medium, the better the more successful your blog will be. We look at six qualities of the Blog Medium:
  1. Niche
  2. Global
  3. Timely
  4. Free
  5. Informal
  6. Multi-media
Have a click through, it only take 4 1/2 minutes, and let us know what you think of the new format.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Free Chris Anderson!

No he’s not in jail. At least not that I know of...
Chris Anderson, author of “The Long Tail” is working on his next book “Free” – due out in 2009.

As is usual for most authors, a second book is going to be a continuation of their first in some form and Anderson follows this path.

The Long Tail (see Book Rapper Issue 1) showed that the economics of the web and digital products extends the potential for profit from mega-hits to micro-niches.
The previously unprofitable is now viable and there is virtually a market for everything.

‘Free’ zeroes in (sic!) on the web dynamics of digital distribution. If a product costs nothing to distribute then it can be given away to entice an audience.

The obvious question is… “If your product becomes ‘free’ then how do you make money?”

Here's four FREE strategies for you to consider...
  1. The typical model is to provide a basic service for free and charge for the premium one. For instance, Skype offers free web calls and charges for calls to mobiles or landlines. The power and weakness of this approach is the ability to build a huge market through the free offer and have enough scale to earn a living from the 1% who do pay. If you don’t get sufficient scale you go broke.
  2. The alternative is to presume that content is free and become a distributor instead. Think iTunes and call yourself an aggregator of content.
  3. Google has a third strategy – that old favourite, advertising. Whilst searching is free people pay for more prominence in the hope of attracting more eyeballs.
  4. A fourth model is shareware. Let people use your product and then they can pay if they want to. The web is a disruptive tool and ‘Free’ needs to be considered in your web strategy today. It may even change your entire business model. What are you giving away?
PS: No, I don’t think Anderson's book will be free, although it should be to prove his point. Seth Godin’s first book showed that ‘free’ works. Seth built a huge following by giving away his book in digital form and was still able to make some good sales when the book when physical some time later.

Some Resources

“Free” article as published in Wired Magazine
3 minutes of Chris Anderson on YouTube (video)

Cory Doctorow connects ‘Free’ and ‘The Long Tail’

Chris Anderson's blog

Labels: , ,