Giving away work for free

>Sure, any company can decide to start charging for a formerly free
>service. Or add ads. This is so common that one can assume it's
>taught as a business model in MBA 101.

Well, of course. Why do you think a company would offer something
free in the first place? What do you think they are in business for
in the first place, if not to make money? They offer a free version
in hopes it will increase sales of their paid products. If it
doesn't, or if giving it away cuts into regular sales too much, or
creates too many problems, they are forced by the pressures of
economics, to change the policy somehow.

I read Atomz's letter. I thought it was courteous and showed that
they were trying hard to make it a friendly and smooth change.

They apparently didn't take into account how the free lunch bunch
would react. I could have told them from experience.

I've given away art to clubs and fundraisers, etc., both because I
wanted to help their causes, and to help get myself known. Did the
people I gave it to ever promote me or my work, or come back and
actually BUY a print or painting? No. Did they show up at my shows?
No. Some of them showed up at later giveaways, hoping to win a print
in the drawing. But mostly I never heard or noticed a thing as a
result of my largesse. Most of them didn't even seem to be aware that
it had cost me anything to product the art I gave away.

I spent over $12.000 out of pocket, on a limited edition print
program to help an environmental organization. The promo said the
profits would go to the organization. There were no profits, so I
gave half of the actual sales to the organization. I paid for
advertising, printing of color fliers, and sent out press releases to
every newspaper and magazine I could find an address for. I donated
totally without charge, and even shipped them to Washington at my own
expense, some 500 prints to be hand delivered to every member of the
U.S. Congress and Senate, and all their aides who wanted one, and
there were many. The reports I got from volunteers were that aides
were chasing them down the halls to get prints for themselves, and
there were lines at the local frame shops, of people getting them
framed. They said that when the later came back to talk about the
American River, the aides would say things like "Oh, you're the guys
with the prints. Come on in." Here is the print:
<> .

I ended up about 6 or 7K in the hole, yet felt I had done something
good. But those reports came from volunteers. The most memorable
response I got from that organization's management was that they
thought I had used them for my own personal gain.

I have also done free, or very cheap, websites for people now and
then, to help them out. I don't do it anymore. The ones who paid full
price were always businesslike and paid on time. The ones who got a
free lunch did not appreciate it, and showed it in various ways.

>And former customers can decide to stop using the service. It's
>called voting with your feet.

You are right. You have the right to vote with your feet. Considering
how you feel about it, I think you should.

As you said in the beginning, you disagree, and we all have a right
to disagree.

What I disagree with is people who take the free lunch and then
complain to one and all when it is discontinued. Oh, look what you
did to me. You gave me something free, I used it to my advantage and
now I am inconvenienced because you are going to start charging me
for it. Oh, you terrible, awful people. Oh, complain, complain,

But you can't beat economics. TANSTAAFL. One way or another, you
eventually end up paying.