The Real Cost of Free Ad-Supported Software/Services

Software is not free, making software takes time and expertise, making good software takes a lot of time and expertise.

Internet servers are also not free, bandwidth cost money, computers cost money, disk drives cost money, renting space in a data center to put your server cost money.

So, we established that making software and running web sites isn’t free, it’s easy to see that a more popular software or service needs more bandwidth and computing power - so the more popular your site is the more money you need to run it.

Now, some sites are run by non-profit organizations or individuals, running a low traffic web site isn’t expensive – but the moment your site becomes popular it takes more and more money to keep it running and someone has to pay the bills – so a you need some way to make money from the site.

Of course some sites are run by individuals as an hobby, running a low traffic web site isn’t expensive – but the moment your site becomes popular it takes more and more money to keep it running and someone has to pay the bills.

There are two ways to make money from a web site: you can get money from the site users directly (by selling software, selling subscriptions or asking for donations) or you can get money from a third party – almost always by selling advertizing.

When you sell advertizing to pay the bills you work for the advertiser not for the site users, in newspapers and television large companies has been affecting the news and TV show content for years by buying (and threatening to stop buying) ads.

Most web sites are run by companies that need the money and don’t even pretend to have journalistic integrity rules – so when they have to choose between what’s best for their users and what’s best for their advertisers what do you think they’re going to choose?

posted @ Wednesday, December 17, 2008 5:51 PM

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