The Value of Free

NEW YORK CITY (NYC) – Google is free to use, so is Twitter and YouTube and  Facebook and Let Simon Decide.  So, why are these businesses so valuable?  Because there is value in Free.

At today’s Disruptive by Design, Wired Business Conference in New York City, Wired Editor-in-Chief and author of Free! and Long Tail, Chris Anderson said,

“Giving away one thing free could help them enter the market, create brand recognition, and create demand for something that was paid.”

Google is the prime example.  It’s free to use Google and, as a result, billions of people use it every day to find what they are looking for online.  Well, traffic drives revenue.  With this traffic, Google can earn billions by charging advertisers money every time that a web visitor clicks on their sponsored ads.  And, to make advertisers feel even better, Google doesn’t decide how much the click cots, advertisers name their own price that they are willing to pay.

I’ve seen the same thing at Starbucks.  You’re in line to buy something and a Starbucks employee comes by with a tray of little bite-sized snacks in a little muffin doily.  By the time you get to the cashier, you order a full-sized version of that $2.75 pumkin cream crumble coffee cake.

The same thing goes for consultants.  People hire consultants for their expertise and advice.  What better way to gain loyal clients than to give little tidbits of advice on your blog to both gain credibility and give a little sample of your work for free?