Chris Anderson, editor in-chief of Wired and author of the bestselling book-turned-Web 2.0-buzz-phrase, The Long Tail, launched a juicy cover story today.
In “Free! Why $0.00 is the Future of Business” — which, as one might expect, is available for free at Wired.com* — Anderson argues that, across industries, businesses are baiting new customers with free stuff.
Of course, that’s nothing revolutionary. But it is evolutionary in the sense that we’ve come to expect some level of “free” something. In fact, we’re willing to pay top dollar for “free”! (Here’s how Ryanair does it.)
Back in 2002, Bryan evangelized “The ROI of Free“…
“An innocuous question can hit you where you live. I should have expected one day someone would ask me, “How do you measure your ROI for that?”
How does someone who writes “ROI Marketing” justify publishing so much content for free? Do we charge for advertising, rent our list, or bombard those names with commercial offers? No. In fact, Jeffrey, my brother and partner who handles such things, estimates we’ve invested about $100,000 developing free content for our newsletter, free whitepapers and other publications. How do we measure its ROI?
As our CFO will tell you, that $100k figure is nothing compared to what we’ve spent since “The ROI of Free” was published. Still, our dedication to free content remains — and for good reason.
Much like he did with The Long Tail (which also began as an article), this latest piece is Anderson’s way of cleverly cross-promoting-in-advance his upcoming book, FREE, which won’t be available in 2009. Looks like Anderson’s on his way to generating some positive word-of-mouth for the magazine and the book.
Has your business discovered the ROI of Free?
*Putting their money where your mouth is, WIRED will send you the print edition of its March 2008 issue for free — so long as you’ll offer a name and mailing address in exchange.