Could Radiohead have signalled the future zero price point of business?? I know, I know, they actually wanted you to pay something for In Rainbows and most folks did.? However, this was the first time the mainstream took note that something could possibly cost nothing.
Wired examines why $0.00 is the future of business. ? It’s a very long article, but a fascinating read, for anyone who is interesting in this sort of thing.? Because of the egalitarian nature of the internet, it’s forced companies to find new ways to market themselves and stand out from the crowded field.
But until recently, practically everything “free” was really just the result of what economists would call a cross-subsidy: You’d get one thing free if you bought another, or you’d get a product free only if you paid for a service.
Over the past decade, however, a different sort of free has emerged. The new model is based not on cross-subsidies ? the shifting of costs from one product to another ? but on the fact that the cost of products themselves is falling fast. It’s as if the price of steel had dropped so close to zero that King Gillette could give away both razor and blade, and make his money on something else entirely. (Shaving cream?)
You know this freaky land of free as the Web. A decade and a half into the great online experiment, the last debates over free versus pay online are ending. In 2007 The New York Times went free; this year, so will much of The Wall Street Journal.