Home » Archive » Free under attack

, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

Rich…! on free:

“Think about it, cheap is probably one of the worst marketing strategies around, surely then it stands to reason that free, which is pretty much the deep-end of cheap, ain’t going to be much better, especially if you want to be taken seriously.

Let’s face it, we’re shallow, and a wee bit simple. Too often we use the price tag as the sole measurement of value.”

(For the flip side, go here)

Rich…! what do you think about Fred Wilson’s defence of free?


Hey Jeremy, here’s the thing, I think Fred makes valid points, and in fact, we’re not far off in our thinking. Take the Flickr example, just about everyone goes pro eventually, I wonder what would happen if flikr was a free (only) service , and some guy started “snapr” a paid premium service, would people migrate, even if he services were similar, my guess is that they would.

Before moving to typepad, I was a BloggerPro paid user, but once it was free I guess I felt that I needed a more serious service. Whether or not typepad is actually better is debatable. I wonder if I still would have switched if I was still paying blogger, I’m not sure I would have.

Also, when you pay for stuff you feel that you have the right to support, that’s important.

Free is cool, but most people still believe that you get what you pay for – regardless of the facts…!

Alright, it looks like I missed the point of your earlier post. I thought you were suggesting that free didn’t have a role and actually reduced the value of online services — regardless of the rest of the environment around the service.

If you are saying that free and only free is less likely to provide great service than free+pro, then I did misunderstand. But if you’re saying that free doesn’t have a role — ever. I think I’ll stick to my guns.

Free gets me in the door. Pro keeps me there. But I really haven’t sorted this one out yet. Just interested.

Rich, is there any way to hurdle the perception that free blows?