Free: How Today's Smartest Businesses Profit by Giving Something for Nothing

Free: How Today's Smartest Businesses Profit by Giving Something for Nothing

by Chris Anderson
     
 

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The online economy offers challenges to traditional businesses as well as incredible opportunities. Chris Anderson makes the compelling case that in many instances businesses can succeed best by giving away more than they charge for. Known as "Freemium," this combination of free and paid is emerging as one of the most powerful digital business models. In Free

Overview

The online economy offers challenges to traditional businesses as well as incredible opportunities. Chris Anderson makes the compelling case that in many instances businesses can succeed best by giving away more than they charge for. Known as "Freemium," this combination of free and paid is emerging as one of the most powerful digital business models. In Free, Chris Anderson explores this radical idea for the new global economy and demonstrates how it can be harnessed for the benefit of consumers and businesses alike. In the twenty-first century, Free is more than just a promotional gimmick: It's a business strategy that is essential to a company's successful future. Download the audiobook of Free for free! Details inside the book.

Editorial Reviews

Boston Sunday Globe
"Anderson's timing couldn't be better. FREE arrives as whole swaths of the economy are having to contend with consumers finding ways--some illegal, many not--to go Free."
Newsweek
"Chris Anderson's FREE unpacks a paradox of the online marketplace--people making money charging nothing. What was once just a marketing gimmick has morphed into the basis of a trillion-dollar economy."
Alan T. Saracevic
"I'd put Anderson and his work on par with Malcolm Gladwell and Clayton M. Christensen as one of the more important pieces of business philosophy published in the emerging global, digital era."
From the Publisher
"Anderson's timing couldn't be better. FREE arrives as whole swaths of the economy are having to contend with consumers finding ways—some illegal, many not—to go Free."—Boston Sunday Globe"

Chris Anderson's FREE unpacks a paradox of the online marketplace—people making money charging nothing. What was once just a marketing gimmick has morphed into the basis of a trillion-dollar economy."—Newsweek"

I'd put Anderson and his work on par with Malcolm Gladwell and Clayton M. Christensen as one of the more important pieces of business philosophy published in the emerging global, digital era."—Alan T. Saracevic, San Francisco Chronicle

Rob Pegoraro
Anderson…provides useful insights into both the market forces he describes and what to do about them.
—The Washington Post
Janet Maslin
Mr. Anderson has come up with a lively conversation piece. Even when the particulars of his argument are easily assailable, the gist is clear: Now that a cornucopia of Internet material has been made available without fee, and in some cases without scruples, the smart business must find ways to adapt to that new reality. "The way to compete with Free is to move past the abundance to find the adjacent scarcity," he writes. And Free is full of specific examples of how to do just that.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

In the digital marketplace, the most effective price is no price at all, argues Anderson (The Long Tail). He illustrates how savvy businesses are raking it in with indirect routes from product to revenue with such models as cross-subsidies (giving away a DVR to sell cable service) and freemiums (offering Flickr for free while selling the superior FlickrPro to serious users). New media models have allowed successes like Obama's campaign "billboards" on Xbox Live, Webkinz dolls and Radiohead's name-your-own-price experiment with its latest album. A generational and global shift is at play-those below 30 won't pay for information, knowing it will be available somewhere for free, and in China, piracy accounts for about 95% of music consumption-to the delight of artists and labels, who profit off free publicity through concerts and merchandising. Anderson provides a thorough overview of the history of pricing and commerce, the "mental transaction costs" that differentiate zero and any other price into two entirely different markets, the psychology of digital piracy and the open-source war between Microsoft and Linux. As in Anderson's previous book, the thought-provoking material is matched by a delivery that is nothing short of scintillating. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

While the best things in life may be free, a business model based on giving stuff away seems a little crazy. But Anderson (editor in chief, Wired), who made a big splash with The Long Tail, tells us that this business model is already here. In The Long Tail, he showed how online businesses were making good by selling less of more, that is, by selling a huge range of niche or low-volume products that added up to big bucks. Here he demonstrates that the concept of making money by giving things away has already taken hold in the digital world. VERDICT With explanations of basic economic principles like supply and demand and an analysis of the differences between products in the physical world and those in the digital world, Anderson makes the Free premise sound quite reasonable. Lots of companies are making lots of money from "free." Google and Yahoo, for instance, have some of the biggest computer server complexes in the world, yet they let us use their email, news, and search services every day. While this book may not be free, it will generate interest among both academic and general readers.—Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin, Whitewater


—Carol J. Elsen

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401310325
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
04/20/2010
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
8.04(w) x 5.30(h) x 0.77(d)
Lexile:
1220L (what's this?)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Chris Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine, a position he's held since 2001. In 2002 and 2004, he led the magazine to a 2002 National Magazine Awards nomination for General Excellence. He has worked at The Economist, where he served as U.S. Business Editor. His career began at the two premier science journals, Science and Nature, where he served in several editorial capacities. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from George Washington University and studied Quantum Mechanics and Science Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.

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