Godin says he disagrees with Gladwell’s review of Chris Anderson’s Free, but it’s unclear to me exactly what he thinks Gladwell is wrong about. What I took away from Gladwell’s review is that Anderson is wrong that free media alone will satisfy our demand, not an argument that existing not-free media institutions must somehow be preserved.
On a related point, several readers have asked why I seem opposed to Anderson’s view, given that I’ve made a nice career for myself by giving away my own writing for free here on Daring Fireball. My answer to that is that Daring Fireball is decidedly not free. It’s simply a question of who gets charged. Readers don’t, but sponsors and advertisers do. What makes it work so well (so far) is that this makes everyone happy. I’m earning a nice salary. Readers get to read my writing in exchange for a small portion of their attention which I direct toward ads. And sponsors and advertisers are happy to pay a fair price to reach an audience of good-looking, intelligent readers such as yourself. But there’s nothing free about it.
★ Tuesday, 30 June 2009