They're Giving Away The Product, But Making It Up In Volume
If you're selling information on the Internet, it doesn't matter how much people get for free -- the only thing that matters is how much you sell. The recording, movie, and commercial software industries don't understand that, but Jimmy Wales does. Wales co-founded both the not-for-profit Wikipedia and for-profit Wikia, which announced a bold new strategy to
Giving stuff away as part of a business model is nothing new on the Internet -- Netscape pioneered that as a business strategy more than 10 years ago. But is Wikia going too far?
The article doesn't say but I suspect that Wikia hopes to use the giveaway to hook customers, and then get revenue from consulting services down the road. Nothing dishonest: A publisher plays around with Wikia's free tools, and says, "Wow, this online community stuff is complicated!" and Wikia says, "Sure is. Want some help?" Many companies won't seek that help from Wikia, but those companies don't matter much to Wikia's bottom line, so long as enough companies do.
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