The Cult of the Free Must Die

Posted by Matt Birchler
β€” 1 min read

The cult of the free must die

Small company gives away software for free. Large companies give away the same software for free, and to them the cost is essentially peanuts, and they own the platforms the software runs on. Therefore small company will lose, decreasing diversity in the browser market. Simple as that.

This is a good, short read, so I hope you take the time to give it a once over.

As I mentioned yesterday:

Considering how many App Store reviews skewer developers for daring to ask for 99Β’ for an app you use everyday, I think the problem is more with people feeling like they should pay for bits than with trusting their payment data will be secure.

Getting people to pay for things is remarkably hard online, even if they are essential things. When the huge companies can offer something for free because it's not a big part of their business, it makes it harder for anyone else to sell that same thing. It also shifts the conversation on value since the free option can usually be pretty darn good. I've talked at length about how much I love Hey for email, but Hey is $99/year, while most people I'm talking to are using Gmail, which is completely free. One of the most common refrains is that paid emails is a non-starter because the free options from massive tech companies are good enough. That's hard to argue against from a purely financial responsibility perspective, but this is how we get to a place where everything is "free" and the biggest companies get bigger.