While some of our critics like to falsely
claim that the business model we describe for leveraging "free" is simply about selling "t-shirts" since they're the only scarce good that our critics can think of, it's important to point out that scarce goods are not just tangible goods, and "access" is often one of the most valuable scarce goods out there. In fact, we've definitely seen some musicians embrace this as something worth selling, but haven't seen it as much in other contexts. That's why it's interesting to see journalist/blogger Ana Marie Cox trying out a version of that business model herself
. Cox, famous initially for being the original editor of the Wonkette political blog has been working for The Radar
lately, but apparently it just went out of business. Cox wants to keep covering the election, and has set up a tiered sponsorship
- Anything: Good karma, knowledge that sometimes merit is rewarded. If not in this particular case.
- Over $10: A personal thank-you email (please include your email in "instructions for seller")
- Over $50: A personal thank-you phone call (please include your phone number in "instructions for seller")
- Over $100: My instant message screen name, regular personal updates via email and/or instant messages on election night
- Over $250: I will ask a senior McCain adviser the question of your choosing and send you the MP3 audio of the exchange
- Over $500: Phone call from McCain headquarters on election night, detailing hilarious antics sure to ensue
- Over $1000: One-on-one post-election dinner debrief
I have no idea if this plan will work, but it is fascinating that it basically works on a system of charging more for greater access. It will be interesting to see if Cox reports back on how well this experiment goes.