Why The Obsession With Free?

There was a post last week on the excellent Blazing Minds blog which talked about HootSuite going down the “freemium” route and charging for the pro version which is ad free and has some other small benefits.

It would appear that the majority of people whom responded to Karen’s post were looking for a free alternative like Tweetdeck rather that coughing up cash but this represents a long and existing obsession with services and facilities being free just because it is on the Internet. The developers at HootSuite and other services have spent a considerable amount of time, effort and money getting their product online so why shouldn’t they charge a small fee to recoup their investment?

A lot of services are provided with a small “free” taster such as 2gb of free space on the likes of Dropbox and Mozy but reading the Dropbox forums and the amount of people moaning about having to pay for more than the basic freebie allowance really hacks me off. These people have paid of hundreds in whatever your local currency is for their computer and are whinging about the price of a beer or two per month for extra space.

I like Dropbox and Mozy so much that I have taken paid subscriptions to get extra space; I shall also probably be buying into the Pro version of HootSuite because it is the best Twitter client out there. No doubt the people who are abandoning HootSuite will bleat when Tweetdeck, Seesmic etc start to charge but surely if a service is good it is worth putting your hand in your wallet for?

What’s your take on this?

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Kevin Tea is a journalist and marketing communications professional who has worked for some of the leading blue chip companies in the UK and Europe. In the 1990s he became interested in how emerging Internet-based technologies could change the way that people worked and became an administrator on the Telework Europa Forum on CompuServe. With other colleagues he took part in a four year European Commission sponsored project to look at the way that the Internet could benefit remote communities. His blog is a resource for SMEs who want to use cloud computing and Web 2.0 technologies.

  • mike k

    Who doesn't want something for free? Everyone likes free things. Thing is, you get what you pay for! Many times, free software, especially in the software and project development field, are not nearly as good as software that you wuold pay for. Ive used free bug trackers, and quite frankly, they are not nearly as good as http://www.elementool.com . Totally worth the extra few dollars to use a full-featured issue tracker/.