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I’ve been following the Free Debate blow by blow for the past couple of weeks. If somehow you have missed this, then here’s the rundown. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a pointed critique of Chris Anderson’s latest book, “Free: The Future of a Radical Price” (which you can read for free). Seth Godin jumped in and said that Malcolm is wrong, and the online community has started lining up on different sides since.
Despite the debates that have surfaced about the viability of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube or the future of publishing, there is consensus about the digital age having ushered in an era where information and ideas are abundant. Regardless of whether these companies can develop sustainable business models, the fact remains that there is more free information available to consumers than at any prior point in history. Moreover, while some people do still choose to pay for some information (e.g., through books, newspapers, magazines, etc.) that is “superior” to the information they can get for free, there is still a lot of very good information available to them at no cost.
I dare not attempt an exhaustive list of the implications the information abundance era will have on email marketing, but here are a few of the things that I believe we are already seeing as a result.
1. Free is not cheap enough. Consumers are not interested in registering for “free email newsletters.” Why should they be? If they want information on a topic, it is easier and timelier for them to simply search for it. If they are required to pay with their email address, consumers demand something that is not only free, but really, really good as well.
Originally from “What ‘Free’ Means For Email Marketers” | Published July 22, 2009
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