We already get free “software” such as free email and web sites (if you count them as software) in order to access email and web sites for free. What about Microsoft Office? What about Intuit’s Quickbooks?
If these companies started giving away their products in exchange for displaying advertisements would you use them? I’m sure millions would.
Some companies are making this a part of their business model.
For example, Blue Tie, outsourced email, recently offered a free version of its email service, in exchange for viewing advertisements.
They’re not alone.
The Wall Street Journal writes that Spiceworks Inc., a start-up in Austin, Texas, [has software] that he could use free of charge to keep track of the software and hardware on his network. The catch: Spiceworks would show him ads while he was using it.
Some companies will use free, ad supported software, as a key piece of their revenue stream. Microsoft offers a free version of Office Live to customers. It has huge plans to sell more advertising – not only through this channel but through search and other avenues as well.
Some companies will take online advertising revenue, but hope to upgrade customers to a paid version of their product.
Of course many companies, don’t have any online advertising, they just offer a free version of their product and hope for paid upgrades.
It’s standard industry practice to at least offer a trial – most every software vendor does this. You can visit Cnet’s download.com or Tucows for trial software. Some of it’s FREE (a lite version) and some only works for 30 days or so.
Completely FREE software, other then open source, the model is still being worked out. Maybe free software with advertising will catch on more.