Dear Web utopians — FREE ISNT FREE, IT COSTS SOMEONE

Tr.im is dead.  I never used the service but it FINALLY gives me the chance to raise the concern most seem to overlook when relying on a free service: what happens when it goes away?  In a downmarket it’s no longer a question of if it’s when.  Just look at youtube.  “OMG ITS SO COOL” isn’t good enough to the guys paying to run the servers and keep a staff on hand to manage the beast if it’s not generating income.   This video sums it up rather nicely — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CqRcCHk_Pc (look for the google heatmap analysis).  There have been similar stories on CNN and fox news talking about the culture of free on the internet needing to change.

Need another example?  PANDORA will be scaling back it’s free portion and creating a pay service.  How many people got an iphone and said “PANDOA = FREE RADIO ANYWHERE”; soon, not so much.  Relate this to education, don’t get too tied to off-site services if you can’t do them inhouse.  Perfect example, youtube / vimeo / ANY OF THE media services out there.  How deos Flickr make money?  Or…gasp, Twitter?  What is the financial model for twitter?  And would you participate if it was a pay modle? Cause I hate to break it to everyone but how does free benefit the guys providing the service?  What we’re doing?  Moving towards youtube / vimeo / flickr.  Why?  Offload the strain on our machines while we still can, keeping in mind that we can’t become beholden to any of those services just in case.  I will say for Vimeo though that it has a for-pay model in place (which we pay into) and it’s fabulous.

Going to reference this video again but http://vimeo.com/5493202 “please charge for your services; stop making things free”.  People will pay for a service and it also gives the service provider incentive to keep it running 🙂

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