Ce e mai bun decât gratuit? (Hal Varian)

Când totul este gratuit sau aproape gratuit, când totul este atât de aproape, atât de uşor de găsit, cum faci să vinzi un produs/serviciu/album/film?

Long Tail

Un articol în blogul cărţii “Long Tail” aminteşte de un articol mai vechi al lui Hal Varian, care face o enumerare despre care am mai vorbit pe blog. Iată ce zice domnul Varian:

Are there ways for sellers to support themselves in such an environment? It is worth considering some of the options. Here is a brief list of business models that might work in a world without effective copyright.

Make original cheaper than copy.
This is basically the limit pricing model described earlier. If there is a transaction cost for a copy-a direct cost of copying, an inconvenience cost, or the copy is inferior to the original in some way-then the seller can set the price low enough that it is not attractive to copy.


Make copy more expensive than original.
The “cost of copying” is partially under the control of the seller, who could use a “digital rights management system,” some anticopying technology, or threats of legal action which would increase the cost of copying and, therefore, increase the price that it could charge for its product.

Sell physical complements.
When you buy a physical CD you get liner notes, photos, and so on. Perhaps you could get a poster, a membership in a fan club, a lottery ticket, a free T-shirt, as well. These items might not be available to someone who simply downloaded an illicit copy of a song.

Sell information complements.
One can give away the product (e.g., Red Hat Linux) and sell support contracts. One can give away a cheap, low-powered version of some software and sell a high-powered version.

In this case, consumers purchases the information as a bundle over time, with the motivation presumably being convenience and perhaps timeliness of the information delivery. Even if all back issues are (eventually) posted online, the value of timely availability of current issues is sufficient to support production costs.


Sell personalized version.
One can sell a highly personalized version of a product so that copies made available to others would not be valuable. Imagine, for example, a personalized newspaper with only the items that you would wish to read. Those with different tastes may not find such a newspaper attractive. Selling works with digital fingerprints (encoding the identity of the purchaser) is an extreme form of this. (Playboy has allegedly put digital fingerprints in online images.)


Advertise yourself.
A downloaded song can be an advertisement for a personal appearance. Similarly, an online textbook (particularly if it is inconvenient to use online) can be an advertisement for a physical copy. There are many examples of materials that are freely published on the Internet that are also available in various physical forms for a fee, such as US Government publications (e.g., The 9/11 Commission Report, or the National Academy of Sciences reports.

Advertise other things.
Broadcast TV and radio give away content in order to sell advertisements. Similarly, most magazines and newspapers use the per copy price to cover printing and distribution, while editorial costs are covered by advertising. Advertising is particularly valuable when it is closely tied to information about prospective buyers, so personalization can be quite important. In an extreme form, the advertisement can be completely integrated into the content via product placement.

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