Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Searching for Real Experiences - The Flipside of Freemium

I've written about Freemium business models in the past, but this is a continuously evolving model. With Chris Anderson's new book coming out soon, I suspect it will get another round of discussion and scrutiny started since the Web 2.0 world of 2006-2008 is now economically different.

This recent article in Forbes highlights the flip side of freemium that is beginning to emerge as more and more people seek to broaden their experience with the brands they love online. This isn't surprising. Digital connections are about abundance, hence the free price tag. Real connections are about scarcity, hence the price premium. The two models co-exist to provide breadth to the user experience, and in turn they continue to feed both sides of the model.

Just as I believe that the upcoming economy will be filled with 2 Guys and the Internet companies around the edges, I also believe that product-centric companies will be looking for new ways to create the scarcity and abundance models that are highlighted here. It's a natural evolution of brand loyalty, this just extends it to micro-targeting and user opt-in. In the past it was too expensive to allow your customers to associate with the brands they loved (except for fanactics), but now the economics have completely changed.
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