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It’s not really free, you know

We take a lot for granted in this “free” culture of ours … but maybe we should take a few minutes to appreciate what we have.

Everyone is freaking out about a fee on debit cards. But who pays for millions of ATMs? The telecom lines to run them? The service people to fill them with cash? The debit card terminals that every small business has to buy? The fee that the small business pays to process your debit card?

YouTube isn’t free. It costs 1/2 BILLION each year to run the servers and bandwidth to host all your videos. If Google can’t find a way to make it profitable, they’re going to have to charge you for it — or shut it down. (Remember newspapers?)

Facebook isn’t free. It takes thousands of employees and hundreds of millions of dollars to run it each year. If they can’t find a way to make money by selling your data to advertisers, they are going to have to charge you for it — or shut it down. (Remember MySpace?)

We’re a selfish people. We expect everything for free. We scream if they change a rule or a policy. But we scream louder if anyone suggests we pay our fair share. Imagine the firestorm of whining if Facebook charged us $1/month. (We don’t want government doing it either … but imagine life when every road was a for-profit toll road.)

There is a book about this that you might have read.

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  1. Becky November 20, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    You know, normally I really like your posts, but this one – I can’t believe you actually just put out those examples! Facebook, Google and banks make MILLIONS of dollars because of the people using their services. It are those services that use the people that are actually expecting people to use their service for free – otherwise, they have no service. Had you referenced smaller companies, I could have probably agreed with you. I have no problems paying a small service fee to help a small company build their business, but the large companies that are making millions of dollars off of the data supplied by their free users – they SHOULD be offering their services for free!

  2. brent November 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    The perception of FREE is really what this is about… everyone with half a brain knows there is no such thing as really free, there is always some price… it may not always be monetary but it is NEVER FREE.

    I will agree with Becky on the Big Boy vs. Little Boy theory… if you honestly think Google, Facebook, or YouTube are suffering for lack of income then try to run an advert with them. The PPC ads are only a very small portion of their revenue. I called FB to discuss ads recently and they told me all their ad spots are reserved for minimum $10K a month contract clients, that should give you some idea there.

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