The concept of "free" takes a whole new level on the Internet. While we don't expect handouts in real life, we all expect free handouts on the web.

We have to pay for e-mail? Rubbish!

We have to pay for access to our favorite sites? Rubbish! It should be free!

Why is this mindset so popular? I can safely say that demographically, most Internet users are middle-class and up. These are not the classes that are traditionally worried about money (or maybe my reasoning is backwards; because they ARE middle class, they are more conscientious of money).

Superficially, most of the problem lies in the age groups that dominate the Internet. As much as I'd like older people to be the dominant forces on the web, most users are somewhere between the ages of 14-21. For those under the age of 17, getting money online is a huge barrier. Kids between the ages of 17-21 are usually too broke to pay for their services.

The main problem with Tabulas, as I've discovered is not the level of support amongst its users, but the fact that most are found overseas OR they are under the age of 18. Both of these groups have legitimate claims to not purchasing paid accounts, and this hurts this site financially.

So what must be done? I truly believe in the free spirit of the web; I don't want to force younger kids to not use Tabulas because they can't afford it, but at the same time we must be logical and find a way to make money. However, the kids must realize that they are getting a free service because they are young - there must be an unspoken agreement to support the site once they can afford it.

I'm not really going anywhere with this. I'm constantly refining my thoughts regarding payments on websites. I've found that forcing people to pay is not a great method, but if you don't ask for money, no one will pay. There needs to be a balance.
Currently listening to: 2Pac Ft. Biggie's Runnin' (Produced By Eminem)
Posted by roy on November 8, 2003 at 02:55 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments

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Comment posted on November 9th, 2003 at 04:14 PM
i think its mostly due to the fact that people don't view the internet as something tangible. people will not pay for something intangible in most cases. most people would be fine buying an item off of ebay, but when it comes to paying for space to post your thoughts on the internet, i'm sure its value is different in that person's mind.

phineyae (guest)

Comment posted on November 8th, 2003 at 10:13 PM
Whatever happens or whatever you chose to go with being a free or paid site, We all should understand your decision.