It seems there are more and more FREE services being created..with no immediate payoff. Facebook is free. Linked-in is free. Twitter is free. Del.icio.ous is free, etc..
There are lots of people asking the question, How can my business make money through these tools. But what about the tools themselves? You’ve got people proverbaly “in the garage” cranking out plug-ins, widgets, gadgets, and full-blown services like the above, but how can they be built and delivered profitably….in the short run.
The advertising model has been the mainstay of such services; get LOTS of people in for free, then sell advertising/banner ads for businesses to reach them. That model is fine…it works for those services which can quickly gain a loyal following.
However, why offer something for free, assuming someone would willing pay for it at the right price? What new business models might be on the horizon for this growing social market?
Here is a thought: Maybe you create a community site or service (twitter for example)…and you charge users a nominal one-time fee for every 100 followers…say $10. It costs nothing to start, and by the time you reach 100 followers, you’re already hooked! Instead of just facilitating communications between parties, you now have an ever growing revenue stream helping you re-invest in infrastructure, marketing, etc.
I’d like to hear your own ideas. Let us hear from you!