Free is a new default. Nowadays, with the increase of technology, globalization and competition, prices decrease, often dropping as low as FREE. This is great news to many price sensitive consumers with whom I bet we all can identify in some areas of your life.
TV, internet, mobile apps, music, films, eBooks, torrents, streaming websites, and many other products are now available for free. We are living in a new economic reality where products are no longer sold, but rather are given away for Free or nearly free.
Take an example of RayanAir, Wallmarkt and Amazon.com which aims to offer their products for lowest price possible on the market, or Google which offers majority of its services for free, or millions other brands for that matter.
How do these companies make money if their products and content are free (or nearly free)?
Consider the following brands: Instagram and Snapchat. Instegram was sold for $1 billion to Facebook and it is a Free products which features No Ads. Why did Facebook need to buy Instagram while they could just make their own version for fraction of that money? Why did Snapchat owners turned down $3 billion offer from Facebook and later a $4 billion proposal from Google? Apparently, the free app received another offer of $10 billion by Alibaba Group Holding.
How can a free companies can cost so much while offering so no paid products?
The price we pay to enjoy free TV and other online and offline products is often outweigh by other factors such as countless commercials we have to see in return. The impact of seeing extra advertisement should not only be considered by companies desire to make us buy new things, but also by the effect it has on our consciousness, identity, believes, lifestyles, society and culture in general. We already saw how much impact this has on our lives and how it can make us behave like robots without awareness. But there is more.
By offering us free products, companies are trying to hook us up to their brands, and than offer us actual paid products. Companies like Apple provide you with a free and user friendly platform iTunes which invite you to spend as much time as possible there, increasing the likelihood that eventually you will buy new product.
In addition, companies some times don’t even need us to pay for their products. They simply offer our information to other companies who later capitalize on their information. Our behaviors get registered and data obtained is later used in predicting and influencing our behavior. Every time we are using a free product we are paying for it somehow in the future.
Lastly, one of the most valuable resources we have today is our time and attention, which as both limited. We can never get time back and it is said that we can only focus on approximately 7 things at a time. If we are always distracted by things like free products, which end up paying extra attention because of their price, we can never truly do anything that we want. We end up doing what other companies want us to do instead. Have you ever tried to concentrate on a specific task for a long periods of time? Chances are that you have and that you found it very difficult to do so because of many different distractions.
So next time you confronted by small priced in your life, really consider that you may be paying much more than you really are.