Sunday, March 2, 2008

on free content

In the last half of 2007 Ivan and I had a movable type blog. When we switched Tipjoy servers, it came down and hasn't yet made it back up. There was some interesting content on that blog, and I'd like to repost it here. I'm going to start reposting a few of the old blog posts if I feel they're still relevant and interesting. Here's the first. Originally posted on October 10, 2007:

Content thrives when free. When people push their work out into the world, the long tail finds them. Fans come out of the woodwork.

Free content enables creators to be successful without making it to the 'top 10' universe. For example, the online publishing revolution has given everyone the tools to write, and with these there has been an explosion of freely available personal journals, professional bloggers, non-fiction authors, and digital fiction literature.

The result is two-fold: not only can a few previously obscure writers can rise to fame based soley on the quality of their work, but more importantly, readers can now browse a previously unheard of array of content options in order to find their niche interest.

Let's take music as another example. A small minority of musicians get a small minority of the money made on the sale of a CD on Amazon or mp3 through iTunes. A great deal of the money goes to third parties (neither makers nor fans) that are litigating their way to securing their share, earned for an outdated task. Meanwhile, the vast majority of musicians are not concerned over piracy, but instead are putting their music out there any way they can in the hopes of connecting with the people who love their sound. Giving it away free helps them find their fan base.

Making content free has given the consumer unprecedented variety of choice. However, there's not a lot of money to be made in advertising or big record deals when you're a single dot on the long tail.

Since producing content comes at a cost, how can producers continue to afford to make their content free? They can tap into their fans' enthusiasm through tipjoy.

Tipjoy enables readers to keep the authors they've discovered writing, listeners to keep the musicians they've discovered making more music. Support from their fans through tipjoy enables the free content producer to continue to produce - to continue to serve their creative work from their little dot shop way out on the long tail.

Tipjoy keeps the long tail in business.

Posted on October 10, 2007 10:00 PM