Lovely essay by Mike Masnick about how people wilfully or accidentally misunderstand the significance of open content…
I’ve been noticing an interesting trend lately. While more folks aren’t totally averse to the idea that they need to somehow embrace “free,” they’re mishandling what they do with “free” and then going on to complain how “free” doesn’t work. The basic problem is this: they hear about the importance of “free” and so they give something away for free. But they don’t have a business model around the free content. They don’t understand the economic forces at work. They just give stuff away and pray… and then whine when nothing happens. As we’ve pointed out before, no one says that “free” by itself pays the bills. You need to have a more complete strategy than that — and it involves a lot more than “give it away and pray.” It’s good that they’re at least trying, but if they don’t understand the real issues and fail at the experiments, they suddenly come back and claim that “free” isn’t the answer, and suddenly rule out all business models involving free. And that is a real recipe for failure….
Worth reading in full.
Thanks to Charlie Leadbeater for the original link.