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Jamie Leonard

I really like the idea and it centres around my favourite subject at the moment, Freeconomics. The basic premise is that you don’t charge the consumer or user of the product, you charge the company that would benefit manipulating the surroundings and environment.

The oldest example of this is Gillette, who historically gave away their razors but charged for the blades. Genius!

An airline company recently made the decision to not charge for meals, but to put allow advertising on the packaging.

Anyone who saw the Bill Gates documentary this weekend (sad I know) knows that Big Bill’s decision to give away software but charge for upgrades and add-on’s was a huge factor to Microsoft’s success.

Here’s a modern day example that we can all relate to: How many of us would buy the Metro if it was 20p and sold off a stand? We wouldn’t, but we’d take it for nothing and in doing so we have built DMGT a great platform for the biggest benefactor of freeconomics, advertisers.

For the same reason MyLongLunch doesn’t charge agencies to use the site or the live events, we charge the media to best display themselves once the consumer (agency person) is there.

Enough of my rambling, there is a point. With this device and on Sinead’s prediction, is it out the question that one day Amazon gives away downloadable books for free and charge a few big advertisers to take every 20th page in a Jackie Collins book? It’s happened in newspapers and this format makes the overheads (paper and ink) £0.

Economists are calling 2008 the “year of the free”, so maybe a HSBC advert for call centre staff on page 146 of the latest Harry Potter book isn’t completely outside the realms of possibility.


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