The Importance Of Realizing Your Content Is Probably Available Online For Free

from the funny-way-to-state-the-obvious dept

We talk a lot about how it makes sense for people to make their content available online for free and adopt business models that take advantage of that, rather than complain about “piracy.” While unauthorized file sharing is usually illegal, it’s pretty silly to pretend that it doesn’t happen or that you can stop people from sharing stuff they like with others. That said, artist Evan Roth has launched an “Available Online For Free” prank-style promo campaign for his new art exhibit (via Urban Prankster) by creating stickers that can be snuck onto products in a store to advertise the fact that… well, they’re probably available online for free. (“Available Online For Free” is the name of the art exhibit and the exhibition book is, not surprisingly, available as a free download.) While it’s probably not a good idea to go around putting these stickers onto products in a store (disclaimer: I wouldn’t recommend it — the pictures are kind of funny… but you likely won’t make friends with the store owner), the campaign is a pretty creative and humorous way of stating the obvious — anything that can be, will be available online for free, one way or another. Making your content freely available online doesn’t mean that you can’t still find ways to sell it, but you need to recognize that this is the lens through which a lot of people see products on a shelf. If you don’t realize that yet, you may be in for a lesson via sticker sometime soon…

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Comments on “The Importance Of Realizing Your Content Is Probably Available Online For Free”

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16 Comments
bulljustin (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Time sensitive content goes stale rather quickly. News, for example, loses its initial value within hours and only retains value in the long tail. The retained value for time sensitive content comes from who can provide it the quickest and most accurate. The best way to get time sensitive content out is online, and if the long lasting value comes from you being a source for that information then the quicker more people see it for free from you the more valuable you are.

cram says:

Re: Re: Re:

Hi bulljustin

If people can make money using time-sensitive information, surely they would be willing to pay for it – and a whole lot are. Giving it away free online would remove the exclusivity and kill a revenue stream. I don’t think it makes sense to give away such information, especially when there aren’t any other scarcities to sell.

The infamous Joe says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

When I can do a twitter search and get the “exclusive” news you’re selling for free, and more up-to-date than you, then any concept for “exclusivity” you had just went out the window.

It’s a brave, new, highly-interconnected world. Throwing up a paywall will only disconnect you. (This is bad, if you didn’t know already.)

Blaise Alleyne (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Does this apply to all content? What about time-sensitive stuff? Even though the information is technically infinite, it’s value lies in when it’s available. I don’t see how giving that away free online helps.

Well, I wasn’t actually making an argument here that anyone should make anything available online for free, but just that someone will do it (i.e. even if you’re not giving it away, someone else is likely doing it “for” you, if the content is any good).

If people can make money using time-sensitive information, surely they would be willing to pay for it – and a whole lot are. Giving it away free online would remove the exclusivity and kill a revenue stream. I don’t think it makes sense to give away such information, especially when there aren’t any other scarcities to sell.

Why does it need to be exclusive to be scarce? The scarcity in time sensitive data is that, if you have it, you can provide it first. I don’t think it’s such a big deal if people copy it after the fact. If anything, it would grow the demand for that data, and if you’re the one with the ability to provide it fastest, it grows the demand for your services too.

I mean, I’m sure there are examples where data could be copied so fast now that a copier may have the ability to provide real-time data too, but there still have to be scarcities, benefits that you can provide if you’re the provider and not just a copier. Again, copying wouldn’t be a big deal if you focus on the kinds of things that differentiate the provider from the copier.

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