If you think about social networks and other web 2.0 platforms of the time, it is obvious that these websites offer the large majority of their services for free. Web 2.0 technology was born on the idea of “free”. It created a whole new way of looking at business models. Create something for the masses, let them use it for free, then advertise to them as directly as possible.
It also created a whole new way of valuing companies, which continues to amaze people today. Instead of looking at a company’s profitability, we create this image or idea of profitability in the future. We say, “This company has so much information, and is so popular, that there must be a way to make millions.” Facebook, which at this point continues to lose money on a daily basis, is valued around $15 Billion.
What if an established network decided to change the price of their services? What if free was not working out? What if Facebook implemented a $4.95 yearly subscription today? Would people quit using it? Would a competitor take over the market?
It seems that most people you ask would tell you its ridiculous to pay for a social network like Facebook. but that is only because we have been so used to the idea of “free” up until now. With the huge amount of money they could take in from a low subscription rate, the services and opportunities they could offer would be infinite. Maybe it’s time to take a bold step.