WikiPremed Shows How To Make Money From Free Test Prep

from the nicely-done dept

Glyn Moody alerts us to his interesting writeup of how WikiPremed is successfully making money while offering free premed test prep materials. The story is actually somewhat similar to the story of the free and open textbook publishers, Flatworld Knowledge. Basically, provide absolutely all of the content for free online, but at the same time, offer up scarce physical products in a useful format as study aids:

Everything is licensed creative commons attribution, and we make the online methods freely available, so for example, you can find the entire set of Physics Flash Cards online. We offer the printed versions of the things for which print may be appropriate for sale for a very reasonable price, and students do buy them because print has its own advantages. We put the whole set of physics cards online (three years of work!) and the students still buy the printed cards any way. Even if they want to support the work, I think they like to have a commercial arrangement and a simple value proposition.

There is one work, however, the Premedical Learning System, which sells for $32.95, where the advantages of the print version are so great, compared to the online presentations of the content, which are extensive, that we call the printed work ‘essential’ for the course, and it is definitely a good value. It’s also a board game!

Students need printed study materials, and they get sick of the computer, so I definitely think there is room for creative commons educational content supported by print publications. I think there is an ethic to not holding content hostage to purchases, but I think there are commercial advantages to the open model as well. I don’t doubt that the average customer at WikiPremed has 1000 page views before purchasing anything.

I am sure that if there were registration walls and missing chapters I would have fewer customers.

You can check out WikiPremed here. One of the interesting points raised by John Wetzel, the creator of the site, is this idea that his average customer has probably viewed more than 1,000 pages before purchasing anything. This goes back to the discussion we had about about ad blocking, where some insisted that anyone not viewing an ad is of no value at all to a community. But that takes a very static view of the world. In a dynamic view, you realize that anyone viewing your website has the potential to pay you back at some point in the future — and that payment may come in many forms. You don’t focus on getting paid for every single transaction, but recognize the value of a loyal, lifetime relationship.

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Companies: wikipremed

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Comments on “WikiPremed Shows How To Make Money From Free Test Prep”

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Anonymous Coward says:

As a college student

I go to a good state university, and two of my math professors have published books, one of the definitive works in Numerical Analysis and is sold normal dead-tree format only (with some online source code, and java-applets to test your work) but it is well over $100 for the (new) book, the other is a completely open book under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3, he has a free PDF online and we can purchase a printed copy for 34$ from , I purchased the dead-tree version, and use both it and the PDF.
Spending on average over a thousand dollars a year on text books for two semesters is insane, and I welcome professors who are willing to publish their work for free online. I hope to myself publish my future works, either free or at least at a much more reduced cost to the students. I completely understand professors wanting to make some money off their books, but I also understand the need for students to be able to afford books AND food.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Re: As a college student

We live in a world where many of the expenses of producing/publishing a book have been eliminated. We have software for writing, producing graphics, printing etc. Even the cost of updating a book has been reduced since only the “obsolete” sections need to be revised.

Now I have been out of academia for a long time. The increasing cost of text books seems outrageous. Why have the costs continue to escalate (beyond the obvious captured audience concept)??????

Danny (profile) says:

Unrelated, except another example of same business model

Same business model. is a language learning online social network. It is free; you get free language lessons in any of 95 different languages (lots of obscure ones on the list). You can tutor or be tutored. The lessons are not unlike what you would find in a Rosetta Stone course, perhaps not of equal quality, but it is free.

There is a bit of advertising on the site. Then, there are some add-ons you can opt to pay for. For example, you can take the free French course, or you can pay $9.95 for an accelerated French For Travelers course. Given my happiness with the free materials, I won’t hesitate to pay $10 for more focused materials.

Lots of free, and they are finding ways to make money too.

Wouldn’t surprise me if there is a lot of non-language learning like this in the near future.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Unrelated, except another example of same business model

the idea of free samples is as old as marketing itself. i am sure that caveman ogg gave samples of meat cooked on fire and then sold fire for a cavegirl or something. this isnt new it isnt fresh and it isnt free anything just marketing.

Answers Land (user link) says:

another money making meyhod:

Answers Land offers it’s members the possibility to earn money by for answering questions. No downloads nedeed. Signing up for Answers Land is as simple as submitting a valid email address and creating a unique user name and password. Later, an avatar picture can be uploaded, it isn’t necessary, but does help build up your personal identity with the site. The site is open to anyone around the world who is over the ages of 13 years old. So it is even possible for teenagers to make money with Answers Land. Visitors can ask a question in any of Answers land’s pre-defined categories for free.

How can you make money on Answers Land?

Answering Questions on Answers land: You get 1 cent for each questions you answer and if your answer is picked as best, you get the 0,25$. Proper answering of questions is etiquette and essential to earn money with Answers Land. This site really wants actual data and fact that are backed up by reliable sources. This makes the content that audiences seek more reliable and accurate. There is no limit in the amount of questions you answer. Your earning possibilities are virtually endless. Plus answering the questions can be entertaining as well.

How do you get paid?

If you have at least $5.00 accumulated, you automatically will enter the pay list and be scheduled to get your money. Currently, Answers Land only make payments via PayPal and Moneybookers.

Quick Data
One valid answer = 0.01$ , best answer = 0.25$, Minimum Payment = 5.00$


Jack (user link) says:

I think I have the solution to this…I’d suggest looking into It will end the day that you spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks. Because works in a way where it finds the best prices by searching all the online textbook retailers and rental sites. It’s so so so easy and user friendly. I’m surprised no one knows about this already but go check it out. It’ll solve the issue of spending ridiculous amounts of money on your books. I promise you that!

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