Today I started reading Chris Anderson’s free FREE: The Future of a Radical Price on my free Kindle for iPhone application. I’m not very far in the book yet, but am loving the fact that I have a whole book on my phone that I have with me wherever I go, that it was free, that it’s all about how offering products and services for free CAN be and often is a means to making money and everything about the whole experience is well… freeing!
I have been telling students in my classes that there is such a thing as a free lunch for a while now, beginning with the introduction of podcasts. Offering knowledge and services for free is a great way to build goodwill, get yourself noticed and build your customer base. Google is a glaring example. And have you ever paid for using Wikipedia?
Chris Anderson also talks about Monty Python who were disgruntled by the fact that so many of their videos were being shown on YouTube without their permission. They decided to create their own channel of clips with much better quality and asked their fans to just buy their videos, DVDs and other merchandise. The result? After the three month experiment giving away the high quality clips, sales had increased 23,000 percent! Wow!