Why is a book about the future of “free”, going to have a price tag?

A good test of a new pharmaceutical would rest upon whether or not the team who developed the drug would use it on themselves, or their children. Unfortunately, what’s good for the gander is not good for the goose, when it comes to being free.Long Tail Anderson (the editor in chief of WIRED) has been able to make use of Wired magazine to promote his upcoming book. Note: the particular WIRED magazine (in paper form) is only available for free to the first 10,000 people to sign away their right to a spam-free mailing address here (“You may at times receive e-mail offers or information from Wired or carefully selected third parties.”).Unfortunately, judging from the article in WIRED, and the article in The Economist, Mr. Anderson strings together a great many buzzwords, sufficient to distract anyone from paying attention to the strings being pulled behind the curtain.Right from the start, the whole things sounds a little wonky:(excerpt) “The new model is based not on cross-subsidies — the shifting of costs from one product to another — but on the fact that the cost of products themselves is falling fast. It’s as if the price of steel had dropped so close to zero that King Gillette could give away both razor and blade, and make his money on something else entirely.”(excerpt)Never mind that cross subsidies are later listed as one of the business models for free, described as “any product that entices you to pay for something else.” SO  the new business model is based upon cross-subsidies for those who keep their attention.Regardless. The real bummer here is the ease with which this whole article repackages the past as the future of business.  Nothing in particular is the future of business.  However, this future will always involve someone opening their wallet and paying for something.

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