Does it bother you that everything is for "free"?
As we all know, nothing is for free. We are sophisticated to know that companies do this for the advertising and to up-sell. However, doesn't this created a facade of a society. It's an intricate game we all play and actually, a game that small businesses can't really afford to play. I'm thinking this one concept does more to destroy small business than any other aspect of society.
Yeah, I really think they should be up front at what the are offering or trying to sell, give you a choice or opportunity. Telling you its free and trying to up sell, or giving you 10% of something and you have to purchase the rest is more like a con to me. If the product/service is good, why hide it behind a "free" offer if it isn't free?
A.D, I couldn't agree more! A young man came to my door offering a "free" carpet cleaning. After a long talk, I found they were selling vacuum cleaners. It really IS more like a con. I feel more comfortable paying up front -in honest transactions .
To the contrary, the ubiquity of free stuff has been a boon to entrepreneurship and the small business person. Resources that would otherwise be accessible only to big companies with deep pockets are now accessible for small businesses.
For example, take Google and websites. For, say, around $100 per year (the cost of a domain name and hosting for their website), a small business can now get the same amount of publicity and attention, and reach the same number of people, that would have cost thousands of dollars per year in earlier times. Google, an entirely free service, wants to find the best search results for their users. So users get free search results, and businesses get free promotion of their website. This is just one small example, of course.
Free can work for or against a business. It's up to them how they utilize it. Case in point: Youtube. Youtube is a completely free platform that has enabled literally millions of small businesspeople, performers, artists, entertainers and musicians to promote themselves to the world. That kind of promotion would have cost tens of thousands if not millions of dollars before the internet age. But, there is a loser too: big, traditional record companies and traditional Hollywood. Since entertainment and content are free or near-free now, those old dinosaurs are having a tough time competing. So free can work for you, or against you.
It's true that small businesses cannot give away lots of free product that big businesses can, but small businesses have never been able to compete directly with big businesses anyway. And big businesses have been giving away free products and promotional gimmicks for ages, that's nothing new.
Point is very well taken. We've had an ed. software business on the web since 1995, and google's analytics program with adsense is very helpful. Our company never has made any money, so I often wonder if a presence is illusionary. Will read ur hubs!
The contract between consumer and producer is totally personal. If they want to shower a consumer with free stuff in an attempt to convince the consumer to engage in said personal contract with producer, there's nothing inherently wrong with it. As for hurting small businesses, that's the name of the game. Big businesses don't get big by letting their competition catch up. In fact, if it weren't for small businesses (adhering to your presumption), big businesses would not have to give out free stuff to get a leg up, so we can actually thank small businesses for the wonderful free crap we get from big businesses.
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