Google Book Search has helped us turn searchers into consumers, said Colleen Scollans, the director of online sales for Oxford University Press
I'm not sure how to word the phenomenon, but I've written about this trend quite a bit. Giving it away to make money… how does that happen? Well, it absolutely does. It's not a new model. After all, radios provided us with songs that people went and purchased later. The music industry is terrified of downloads, but it's a fight of futility. Peer to peer programs will continue to enhance and offer means of distributing files undetected. The day will come, soon, that the RIAA has to give up on their pursuit of lawsuits and build a better business model. Since being one of the original Napster/Metallica rejects, I've never purchased another Metallica product. And prior to, I had Metallica everything… I'm not sure how much money Lars and crew lost by shunning one of their fans, but it's been a lot. Yes, my taste in music has evolved over the years… it's quite a bit softer now. 🙂
Software is no different. Yahoo! recently noted that they will be distributing their Email application freely so that customers can build applications around it. The advantage? They are spreading entrepreneurial talent and ingenuity beyond the walls of their company to the world. As more and more people build applications, the desire to utilize Yahoo! as the ISP of choice will be inevitable. I'm one customer who does not wish to leave… tools like Virus protection, Spam protection, Parental supervision tools, Launch… they all make me want to stay with Yahoo DSL. And the Pro service is fantastic, I have never had an outage more than minutes.
Now books! Those of you that have seen and read my blog know that I'm a book hound. I don't have a very large library, but you'll find books everywhere at my place. I especially love hardcover books (so I admit I do buy books for their cover). My latest beauty is Capote's In Cold Blood. After watching the incredible movie, I was inspired to read the book. .
Blogs are another form of giving it away for money. I read (too many) blogs and have accumulated a wealth of knowledge about Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Programming, Management, Leadership, etc. Many blogs have led me to purchase books. Ironically, I recently purchased Seth's newest book… content that was accumulated and organized from his blog… and I purchased the book after seeing it advertised ON his blog. So Seth had been giving it to me already… and I bought it, too! He gave it away for money!
My blog doesn't bring in much in the way of direct revenue. However, it's become a nice avenue for me to reach quite a few prospects and customers. I've had the pleasure of doing some Social Media consulting, Database Marketing consulting, Google Map development, WordPress development, and partnering in a new Social Media business (still in development). Most of this business could not have been obtained without the reach of my blog.
Some folks might think that posting your knowledge online is putting it out there for free and you'll loose money. What I've found is that most people are not looking to ‘steal' knowledge; rather, their looking for knowledgeable people! A blog is one of the best means of providing your prospective clients with the information they need to find you worthy of hiring or consulting with.
This is the new economy. If you don't give it away to make money, someone else will!