Saturday, July 4, 2009

My Take: Mark Cuban and "Free" vs. "Better than free"

In his June 30 blog article, "Free vs Freely Distribute, Mark Cuban dives into the debate stirred by Chris Anderson's new book about the Web, "Free".

Consequent and perhaps ancillary to the "Free" argument is the question, "Exactly what is 'Better than free'?" - a trademark of YouGottaCall since 2007. No - I'm not claiming trademark infringement - rather pointing out an important distinction which will become more clear as the Web evolves.

Mark describes that Web content such as YouTube and news articles are "better than free". My comments to Mark:

I’ll argue it’s “better than free” if you either directly save money that you would have spent or else (even better) receive money.

The examples you give (Youtube, magazine articles, newspapers reports, TV shows on Hulu) don’t do either. Do they? In most cases they’re “just free”.

I’m quibbling over your wording to illustrate an important point. While the Web provides a flood of media that we browse for free and Web 2.0 brings us user generated content, also also available for free, the future Web will provide new opportunities in a social economy that actually provide cash – and are really “better than free”.

When on the social Web I am paid for my affiliation with the businesses I trust or can earn money for my favorite charity through my Web-based or Web-facilitated transactions then I’ll agree that it’s “Better than free.”

“There’s value in them thar relationships”,

– - Tim

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