I smiled this week when I received an email from Friends Reunited to tell me about their new site, and the fact that:
“The entire site is now completely free to use including sending messages!”
In fact, so good was this news, that they told me about it twice:
“And did we mention it’s free to send, receive and reply to messages?”
(Plus it was also in the email title!)
To be honest, I had actually forgotten about the Friends Reunited website altogether, what with Facebook, LinkedIn and various other sites being about. I think that must be why they have gone for a redesign. What I had also forgot about was that people actually used to pay to contact each other through the site (was it £5 a year?) – which was deemed as OK at the time…. all those years ago
Chris Anderson recently wrote that the future is Free, as computing power, space and bandwidth get easier, cheaper and more abundant. There will not be a reason to charge anybody up front, as google kind of demonstrate at the moment with their applications.
Whilst I can see that becoming a reality, it is also interesting in terms of the concept of free as in freedom – and how we think of Plings. Our approach has always been that the Plings data should not be tied to one format or one particular “website”. By concentrating on standard, comment and open formats such as XML, RSS, CSV, iCal etc we can lay a foundation so that the information can become accessible and – I suppose – free…