Could Free Be Your New Path to Profitability?

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Entrepreneurs in the tech space may have to build a business model around giving their product away for nothing and monetizing the audience they create.

By Kartik Ram

The psychological chasm between a "near zero" and "zero" cost is why Google doesn't appear as a charge on your credit card. It's also why Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Gmail and Skype are primarily free. In today’s Web 3.0 economy, someone does pay, but it’s probably not you.

So how do you pay for these services? What’s the return on investment for the service provider? Tech mavens have found a way to charge you in alternative currency — your time and engagement. “Free” is a paradigm shift in which almost all the newly-created value goes to consumers, not producers. It was popularized by Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine in his bestselling book by the same

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