Friday, December 05, 2008

4 kinds of “free” – new models that challenge the way we move brands ForwardFast

Here's a recent illustration of how the web works. Chris Anderson, author of "The Long Tail," is working on his new book in which he explores the notion of "free." Rather than hole himself up in a cabin somewhere while writing, he uses his blog to test out content, source external perspectives and even ask for a little help.

Several weeks ago, Chris put together a couple of rough visuals of his "free models" in the hopes that someone could improve upon them. A Critical Mass co-worker passed the blog post on to David Armano, knowing that he might take Chris up on the challenge to solve the problem visually.

Within minutes of David’s post being launched, Chris provided feedback on my visual, David re-posted and he linked back.

The irony is that this little exchange is not only becoming more commonplace, but it's also reflective of the fourth model Anderson outlines as the "gift economy." People will provide things of value at no cost, and it's likely that something good can happen in return -- call it karma.

This visual illustrates the four kinds of “free”:

1. Get one thing free, buy another.
2. Advertising, sponsors, and paid media.
3. Freemium: only some pay for full version.
4. Gift economy: give away for non-monetary rewards.

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