2011, Time for Free Service Comes to the End
People like free service and some free service do provide great service for users. After one and one free service come to the end, we need to think about why. Free service should find their way to get paid and then provide better service to users.
Let us review several events happened in 2011, Google cut off many service, Facebook tracked users online behavior, Facebook purchased Gowalla and the reborn of Delicious. What could you see from these events? The intimation of the four events which seems totally no relation is that free form is coming to the end and it's the time to charge users for service.
It is really difficult for free service to run for a long time and you must find the best profit model for yourself. Though free service and open source project could have a bright development under the support of community and fund. However, we always meet this condition that a great free service have to be closed for some reasons. After a deep analysis, we find that most of the service is started by their developers as a habit in spare time and these great works developed as a habit are getting more and more popular. After that , there are two ways to go. Some developers begin to run their habit as a full time work and put themselves totally in their work and others have to give up the idea that change their habit to their career and stop their service at last. If you want to make a service to be popular and continued popular for a long time, you have to find the support of fund. In addition, you have to build a direct relation between your loyal customers and your income and this kind of relation can not be influence by advertisement income.
Delicious, the once most popular bookmark service , can explain this problem clearly. Delicious gets may loyal customers at the beginning. If the developers carry out paid service, I believe that those loyal customers will accept. But after Yahoo control Delicious, they destroy the best bookmark service at that time by their own hands.
Let us look at Facebook, it is a social service that you can live without it and it is free. Is that real? No, let's see it from another aspect. Facebook is a paid service. They do not get paid directly from their customers, but customers do pay them from another way. Facebook's anal operating costs is 1 billion USD, but customers do not pay them. As an exchange, Facebook users have to accept the ads in their facebook life. We can say that Facebook does not connect between users and their friends, but between users and advertisers directly. People choose the free Facebook, and they also choose to let Facebook get their personal data and sell them to marketers.
From the above point of view, there is no different that people choose Facebook and other service that run on the base of ads income. People choose one kind of service and they are investing. Users users a service for a long time and it is difficult to change another service for them. It is not only work for Facebook, but also Twitter, Google +, Tumblr and so on. Users are a kind of product that these service need to sell them for money to run the service.
Find a problem and take an action are totally two different things. Take Gmail revision as an example, many users do not like the new design of the new version of Gmail. Why they do not change their Email service to other providers? So we come to a conclusion that when you really love a service, please support them to pay them. From the other point of view, if a service does not support direct pay method and does not rely on users' support. It is the time to think about if you will still use this service.
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