So how will today's brutal economic climate change the Web 2.0 "free" economy? It will result in the rise of online media businesses that reward their contributors with cash; it will mean the success of Knol over Wikipedia, Mahalo over Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), TheAtlantic.com over the HuffingtonPost.com, iTunes over MySpace, Hulu over YouTube Inc. , Playboy.com over Voyeurweb.com, TechCrunch over the blogosphere, CNN’s professional journalism over CNN’s iReporter citizen-journalism... The hungry and cold unemployed masses aren’t going to continue giving away their intellectual labor on the Internet in the speculative hope that they might get some "back end" revenue. "Free" doesn’t fill anyone’s belly; it doesn’t warm anyone up.Well, duh. I mean, why do you think I've spent so much time pitching ideas to MLBTV lately?
In all seriousness, I get this. In fact -- and I don't plan on going into too much detail about it for now, so please don't ask -- the downturn is affecting me in a pretty directly negative way, so I can understand and appreciate the need to get paid for one's labor. That said: this blog, while a labor, is a labor of love, and I can't see anything that would make me quit doing it. It would be fabulous if I were paid to do it, but that's not why I started it and won't be determinative of how long I continue it.
I won't sit here and say that I understand a fraction as much about the Web 2.0 "free" economy as Andrew Keen does, but I tend to believe that all of the bloggy/wiki goodness it has sprouted is not a function of people saying "well, I make enough money elsewhere, so I'll do this for free." To the contrary, I think people have said "Wow. This is neat. I think I shall do it some more."
(link via Sullivan)