Actually, I have to admit this is not something we have never used before... but I dont think just because a lot of people are already participated in it makes this any less important.
so this is my post from 2 weeks ago:
In lieu of time, I will just quickly roll over point 3 from exhibit A, Embrace market mechanisms (Giving stuff away rarely works as well as
I am convinced, and so are others, that this does not hold true. While it is important to embrace market mechanisms, there are a lot of examples, that giving stuff away does actually comply with market mechanisms.
If you buy 2 iced teas for the price of one, the price of the second tea has either been worked into the first product itself and it provides an incentive to actually buy the product itself or it is a promotional campaign for new products.
However, the 'buy one get one free' thing barely scratches the surface.
But in a lot of cases, giving one thing away actually helps sell another
, while with Google, giving away search results for nothing (at least nothing monetary) made them into a multi-billion (advertising) dollar company (which I doubt would have happened if they had charged for results).
Also, hostels give away wi-fi to attract backpackers who wish to tell mum they are fine by email to stay the night and pay for room and board.
Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine has written a great book about this: Free - the future of a radical Price,
which coincidentally is available FREE for download
as an Audiobook. Of course its also available in print - just not free.
Anderson, who I have also chosen to cover as my 'hero', takes a thorough and creative look into a wh*** economy built around the price of zero.
While most of the things he covers will not apply to or help African economies (which I believe to be in some way the point of the assignment) directly, better understanding the web and what Anderson calls 'the bits economy' means better understanding human desires and networks, and if that leads to understanding humans just a tiny bit better, it is worth more than just some attention.