In the U.S. today, we see the incredible power of price on consumer behavior as millions of people storm retail stores around the country in search of bargain.
One price point being used frequently is Free. The Apple Store will give you Free shipping and $21 off the retail price of a new iPod Touch if you order it today. Best Buy will give you a Free $30 gift card and Free shipping today and tomorrow. And ToysRUs was offering a Free $50 gift card with the purchase of an iPod Touch if you got to the store today before 1PM.
I have been fascinated with Free since the July release of Chris Anderson’s book. The concept is constantly seeping into conversations about newspapers, books, music, movies, and television. And with all of the talk, we seem no better prepared to discuss Free with intelligence. The dialogue gets bogged down in incongruent comparisons of apples, oranges, and antelopes with the collision of economic theory, legal precedent, and moral consequence.
On January 7th, the six month anniversary of Free, I am going to release an ebook about the concept of Free–my attempt at clarifying the salient points around Free and provide some paths we can all use to move forward.