Thursday, July 16, 2009

How to compete with free

I've had some mean things to say about Chris Anderson's "Free" thesis, but beneath the book's overly simplified theme, he's done a lot of good thinking about what makes products competitive in a world where so much is, after all, free.

Good interview here; this is the quote I liked best:

You know, why do people buy music when you can download it for free? Why does iTunes exist. Because it's easier and safer and faster, not really because people feel some sort of moral obligation to pay for music. Ninety-nine cents doesn't matter as much as one-click simplicity. So they're not selling music. They're selling simplicity.

And that's what news sites must do: don't sell commodity news, sell what readers want: understandable, verified, trustworthy news that has been sorted and displayed in ways that can be digested by busy people.

1 comment:

  1. I've long said, news on the web should tell me what's going on in my community now.

    Most newspaper web sites are designed around the idea of "we tell you what the top headlines are.

    Not even the top stories -- here's the headlines.

    I get feedback in the community all the time about how much easier it is to get news from The Batavian than it is the Daily's newspaper Web site -- they will even say, "Your site is more user friendly."

    Newspaper web sites have a huge problem with presentation.