Competing With Free

A lot of old sayings come to mind. “You get what you pay for” or
“The less one pays, the more they expect” are just two that come to mind.

Yesterday I read in the trades that a new stock photo agency had sprung up and the content was free. I’m guessing the business model has their hopes on making revenue from online paid ads. But it was interesting to note that the owner said his company’s biggest problem was getting free content. Gee, I wonder why.

If anyone thinks that giving away content or services in hopes of getting paid gigs down the line – well then I have a bridge to sell you. That dangling carrot is as old as the hills.

Now I’ve done a lot of pro bono work in my life and will continue to do so – and it has always brought returns – many times monetary ones. But I have never given something away for nothing because someone tells me that they will pay me in the future.

Think about it – why should they pay someone who places no value on what they create. Lou Jones had a great reply when asked by a potential client to work for free on a job with the promise that he would be hired for future paying jobs. He responded by saying that he would do the paying job first and then in the future would consider offering some free services.
I thought that was a brilliant reply.

Bottom line – if you give it away – you are saying your work has no value.

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