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Free-Conomics with Chris Anderson

October 1, 2009

Apparently there is such a thing as a free lunch…if you don’t mind paying for it at dinner.  Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails give you their music for free so you go to their concerts and generally fan their egos’ flames.  Google lets us search, e-mail, and use all kinds of free applications, if you just give them any shred of privacy you thought you ever had.  Even AT&T will give you a cell phone gratis, if you just buy their monthly plan.  The Huffington Post offers New York TImes quality news and editorials, if you don’t mind a healthy margin of error.

These are only a fraction of the businesses that have helped to establish a full-fledged economy based on the concept of zero dollars down.  Chris Anderson’s explanation of making money by charging nothing is: “free now, pay later,” which makes sense given the average person’s inability to properly discount future costs.  What are the consequences?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Now, if only Rupert Murdoch was stupid enough to continue getting burned by betting on the long tail.  Unfortunately, he’s waged war on teh Internets:

After fulminating for a year about how people on the Internet should pay for news, he made it official. Announcing in August the biggest losses his company has ever sustained, he added that he’d had enough and if people wanted to read his newspapers they could bloody well pay for them.

What’s scary is that people are apathetic enough to let him win.

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