Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Make Things Free...Make Money

To quote one of my favorite t.v. shows, "SWAG! Stuff We All Get."(Steve Carrell - The Office).
The world seems to be giving stuff away. Just do a quick google search for "free stuff," and you're bombarded with promises of t-shirts, cups, memberships and so on. One of the great free trends is the trend of taking pay sites or what would be membership sites and making them totally free. Now with the advent of adsense, yahoo! search, and other ad serving programs, businesses have discovered a way to eliminate the burden of online monetary exchanges without sacrificing their potential revenues. As more and more companies pour money into ad programs the greater the need to create larger impressions. So what is out there that can be totally free? Many things I believe can benefit from adopting such systems. No more membership fees, no listing fees on eBay, etc.... Really, unless you are selling a product, there is no need to charge for things anymore. If companies are willing to spend millions on advertising, you might as well spend your time marketing. For example, one of the most successful free ventures out there was Plentyoffish.com. Amongst the plethora of pay dating sites came this simple database. Without the flashyness of aesthetic design, plentyoffish.com took on a sort of craigslist of dating. It gave users the opportunity to join this niche, with its simple interface and a few key services, without having to pay any outrageous sign-up fees. Through the use of ad serving, Plentyoffish.com was able to generate a substantial amount of revenue. I will not disclose how much they made, but let's just say it was enough. So my challenge to you is...what other services can you automate online that will eliminate an online exchange of money?

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