Summary of Free

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Free book summary


9 Overall

8 Applicability

8 Innovation

9 Style


Economists swear there is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone always pays. That may be true in the “atoms” world of physical things, but Chris Anderson explains why it does not apply in the “bits” world of the Internet, where “free” is the ruling paradigm. If, as Stewart Brand (founder of the Whole Earth Catalogue and the Whole Earth ’Lectronic Link) said, “Information wants to be free,” now it is, at least in many instances, particularly online. While the idea of giving things away as a promotion or loss leader isn’t new, Anderson’s fresh insight is that giveaways are becoming a business imperative that companies are going to have to accept and use. Actually, companies online and off can become immensely profitable when they give products or services away for free to bring customers in and to create the need for future ancillary product sales (in other words, take the printer and buy the ink). Anderson, author of The Long Tail and editor of Wired magazine, tells you how to make money by providing most of your offerings for free and charging for just a few of them. getAbstract recommends this perceptive, innovative, idiosyncratic book to all marketers.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How giving products away has become a hot marketing strategy;
  • How various forms of “Free” work;
  • How Google became the online champion of free;
  • How online firms make money being free;
  • How companies build profits with giveaways; and
  • What is the downside of free.

About the Author

Chris Anderson is editor-in-chief of Wired magazine. He received the getAbstract International Book Award for his book The Long Tail.



The Fortune in “Free”
Google, the online search behemoth, became a highly successful company by giving away most of its products and services. Google supplies online visitors with almost 100 products, mostly free, from “photo editing software to word processors and spreadsheets.” To many...

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