Free Doesn't Mean Unpaid
from the follow-the-money dept
One of the problems we often run into whenever we write about economics involving “free” is that someone inevitably posts a comment saying something to the effect of “but if content creators can’t make any money, they won’t create content.” The problem is in jumping to the conclusion that “free” to the user/reader/listener/watcher means that the content creator isn’t getting paid. Nothing is further from the truth. In fact, most of the business models we talk about concerning embracing such “free” things points to ways that the content creators can make more money, while still allowing the consumption for free. Reader thepi points us to a blog post by author John Scalzi, who has long been a proponent of free e-books, where he explains that free to the reader doesn’t mean unpaid to the author. It just means that the business model is slightly different; the money is coming from somewhere else other than the reader. For some, this may seem obvious — but it’s clearly a point of confusion that we run into frequently, so it’s great that Scalzi is highlighting it.