Whilst I agree with Mr Anderson that there is huge value to be made out of what can be classed as free I feel that it is a little misleading to praise the approach in its entirity and hail it as an overall success.
Granted there are a number of free and undeniably great services that are now valued at a pretty hefty amount due their high numbers of traffic and advertising income.
Often what is ignored however is their ever escalating costs and the number of free services going under. I refer you to the recent demise of the London Paper and the whispers around the lack of profitability of many of the major players in the free market place.
I do not believe that, in its current guise, this is a sustainable business model.
I would also guess that the success stories of hefty valuations in this market place are in the main the exception rather than the rule with a bag load of free services setting up every day and another bag load folding.
I am not for one second knocking the free economy and have respect for anyone who manages to grow their business value in such a significant and accelerated manner. Their success is well deserved, as they are clearly providing a service that is in high demand. They certainly provide services that are now embedded into my life and I wouldn't function half as well without them, and this is my concern - will there come a point where I have to?
The shining light of hope for me exists in the open source social media camp - an area of clear present and future value - and its application to professional communities.
The reason being that when this amazing media and interactive functionality is applied to a commercially viable and profitable business model (and often married up with am experienced executive team) the two are a match made in heaven and interestingly it is the smaller players that are now leading the pack in this arena.
I really feel for the Facebooks and Myspaces of this world as they pioneered the social media era exceptionally well but, in my humble opinion, missed a number of huge opportunities to maximise on their strong hold and solidify their place in the future.
The next few years are going to be very interesting indeed. What this space! (Pardon the pun!!).