Using Free to Sell Paid

Here’s the latest in my on-going essay series, Local Media in a Postmodern World.

I’ve been reading Chris Anderson’s work for many years. He’s the editor of Wired magazine and author of “The Long Tail” in economics. His latest effort is a new book based on a theme he’s been exploring for the past couple of years on his blog and in the magazine: the economy of “free.” Free. The future of a radical price is an in-depth look at the many faces of free, and I suspect it will be as eye-opening as was his book on the long tail.

In this essay, we examine the value of disseminating a free news model and using it to drive people to that which we can monetize. Most readers will assume up front that this is already practiced, but it’s not. The best we currently do is “tease” people, and that’s actually the opposite of what’s proposed here. I’m talking about a rich and satisfying online stream of news throughout the day that leads people to more in-depth articles and videos, even all the way back to our legacy platforms.

Using Free to Sell Paid

In this model, marketing is the principal mission, although money can certainly be made in the process. It’s my belief that, as media companies, we may have a deep understanding of the concepts of marketing, but we don’t practice marketing to the level we could online. There are two reasons for this: one, we don’t understand the back-end nature of the Web and, two, we just don’t believe in it.

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