The culture of free in the digital universe

The culture of free in the digital universe

Who among us doesn’t like getting something for free? Whether times are tough or not, most of us appreciate the fact that we’re not paying for something we want or like.

The World Wide Web has taken this to new heights. There are all sorts of sites with a wide variety of content that we have free access to.

Music, art, entertainment, books, sports, games… you name it. In fact, how many of you, when faced with a paywall for premium content, simply decide to go elsewhere? I know – I’ve done the same.

You should probably really want the content to decide to pay for it, because in most cases you can get what you’re looking for somewhere else for free.

But this “free” content comes at a price. Content creators certainly incur costs to create the content. So how is it that there is so much content available for “free”?

There are several dynamics at play. In most cases, large website owners can monetize the traffic they receive by selling advertising, which allows them to offer content for free.

If you can prove that you are getting millions of hits every day, advertisers find it valuable and are willing to pay for the privilege of being visible on the site. Or they pay for the clicks they get on the ads displayed on the site.

In order to continue to receive millions of hits every day, these sites require new and interesting content all the time. After all, if the sites you visit have the same thing every day, you probably won’t visit them very often. So how do you solve the problem of constantly acquiring new and interesting content?

If you’re a news site – you rely on reporters to develop and report stories as part of the news cycle. This is a very expensive operation, after all the reporters have to be paid for their efforts. Some news sites rely on donations from their visitors to support their operations and run periodic fundraising campaigns to keep them going. Other sites are owned by larger organizations that value maintaining a web presence and can afford the newsgathering effort, although they still tend to sell advertising.

A number of major social media sites have found that the best way to continually acquire new and interesting content is to let their visitors provide the content themselves.

Every photo, post, update, etc. is content provided for free by visitors and then monetized by the sites. Now that might seem like a pretty fair deal in that context. Visitors (you and me) get a nice site with a variety of fresh content, we can connect and share with friends and they don’t charge us anything. It’s free! Hooray for us!

You may not think of yourself as a content creator – but basically, when you upload photos or post videos of your dog or cat doing things with dogs and cats, or make a post imparting some of your life lessons – you you are a content creator.

However, let’s think about content creators a little more narrowly. Let’s look at writers, musicians, singers, artists, videographers, etc. In many cases, these content creators produce their content at great expense to themselves. If they are unknown content creators, then one of their first tasks is to find a platform or forum to get publicity for their content.

There are many specialist websites that cater to these specific areas – where the content creator is enticed to provide their content for free on the site, the carrot being that they will gain access to their content and gain new fans of their work. the road. Many of these sites even provide a means for content creators to sell their content directly to site visitors. That sounds great in theory.

The content creator gets their content exposed to a lot of people, far more than the content creator could reach on their own. The content creator has a platform to offer their content for sale to those who are interested, with perhaps a small cut to the website owner. Win for all, right?

Well, not quite. There is still the culture of freedom to overcome. We visitors are used to getting our content for free. And while we may like some content, maybe even like it enough to give it serious consideration, when it comes to clicking the BUY button, we tend to move on because we don’t need to have it. And there’s more free content available elsewhere.

This is still a win for the site owner – because they can monetize the visits and sell advertising. In this scenario, however, the content creator is left trying to figure out what they need to do to close the deal with the consumer.

Of course, it’s the content creator’s job to make their content as compelling as possible so that the user finds it worth acquiring. But the culture of freedom is a difficult obstacle to overcome in this context. Before so much content was digitized, it was necessary to acquire it through any available means of distribution. In the absence of that, there weren’t many legitimate free ways to access or acquire content – other than free radio or television, or in the case of print media – heading to the newsstand or bookstore.

Content creators face an ever-expanding environment where everyone is vying for attention and so much is offered for free that it has the effect of devaluing the creative efforts of content creators. Some would argue that the cream will still rise to the top, even in this environment. And that content creators simply need to be more innovative in drawing attention to their work and creating more engaging content.

Ultimately, I believe content creators are much better served by taking every possible step to drive traffic to their own websites. Content creators can still choose to provide some of their content for free to their visitors – but at least any monetization would directly benefit the content creators.

And yes, I realize the irony that this article will probably appear on some of the bigger sites I mention that collect free content from content creators like myself.

#culture #free #digital #universe

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