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When Something is Free Online
By: S. Housley
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    2005-07-01

    Table of Contents:
  • When Something is Free Online
  • Ad Revenue...
  • The Problem with...
  • Cut Corners...

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    When Something is Free Online - The Problem with...


    (Page 3 of 4 )

    The Problem with Free
    If a business or individual is truly providing something for free, there is a cost involved. Whether time, resources or services are consumed to provide the free item or service there is an expense involved. If the cost is at any point greater than the benefit or perceived benefit of offering the free item or service, the business or individual will likely review options to better balance the cost-to-benefit ratio.

    They may:

    Discontinue support
    Companies or individuals that provide a free product may continue to provide the item free of charge but discontinue the support. If the item is something like software, the expense has already occurred. By providing the item without technical support or customer service they can reduce their staffing costs. The only ongoing expense to provide the item free of charge would be ongoing hosting costs, which are usually relatively small. If the item is critical to a business or individual's operations, the value of the item will be lost if technical support or customer support is no longer available.

    Abandon
    Businesses may simply discontinue offering the free item or service without notice.

    Compensation
    Individuals or companies may begin requesting donations, compensation, volunteers or a benefit listed above in order to continue to provide the item or service free of charge.

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