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In the internet age, do we expect too much for free?

Article by Ceri Wheeldon

Are we expecting too much for free?

Is it  a question of ‘you get what you pay for’ or ‘the best things in life are free’?

Has the internet age brought about the expectation that we should no longer pay for anything?

Growing up, if I wanted anything, book, camera, latest toy, I was encouraged to save up and buy it. When I bought whatever item it was appreciated. But has technology and the internet changed  expectations?

I was chatting to someone about a charity project they were running. Part of their fundraising initiative included producing and selling a music CD. In order to cater to those who preferred to download their music straight to digital devices, they also made it available online as download – for which a payment should have been made. They hadn’t factored in the ‘sharing’ aspect of sites such as Spotify, where they discovered the music for their charity CD was now being enjoyed and shared for free.

Should we complain about something if it’s free?

Similarly, although we may complain about social networking sites such as twitter and facebook when they make changes (privacy issues aside)  or are temporarily inaccessible, as users we pay nothing and simply use a free service. Do we have a right to complain if a free of charge service does not live up to our expectations?

With information available on the web at the click of a button, and many e-books now available for free, do we expect too much for nothing? If we expect too much for free will the quality of information available to us decline as a result?

What should we expect and be  prepared to pay for?



Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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  1. Silvia Edit Fabian

    July 17, 2012

    I don’t think so if Facebook or any other social sites are free. They just seem to be free. We pay for services with our personal data and many details of our habits, relationships, ect. The information is power. And we give that to those sites.

    Of course there are business opportunities behind the free e-books or anything for free in internet. (advertisements, email marketing, web marketing, data bases, etc.)

    The point is we must understand, we have to understand: They need us more than we need them.

    My opinion is that your question is a statement in a right way: “You get what you pay for” AND “The best things in life are free”. All those two are right next to each other but not against each other.

    However I am not a native English I like reading your interesting articles and arguing with you.

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