I think we will reach a place in the near future that if it isn’t free, it has no value.
Take Wikipedia. Totally free to the consumer, made by volunteers. Paid for by traffic – traffic begets sponsors.
Who would use Wikipedia if it weren’t any good? If you paid for it you would cover your ass by saying all the things that made you buy it as your justification for spending money on it.
However if it is free and you spend your hard earned “LIFE” on it by being there, you are proof that it has value. So once it has that kind of value, you tell your friends. Your friends go spend a portion of their life there, make an evaluation and decide it is worth their life’s time investment. We all know we can get more money and we justify our expenditures. But when it comes down to what we invest our lives in… well there is real value and no one can sell you on that.. not twice anyway.
SO I think we are moving into an era where if it costs (at least with information and entertainment anyway) it isn’t worth it. Not once we all figure out that it is where the crowd is that the money follows. Ever see someone staring at the sky, then you look up, then the guy next to you looks up… it happened on 09/11/2001 the entire New York Populace was staring at the sky: Because there was something to look at.
The oxymoron here is that those that gather when there is a crowd are those that want to sell you something… but now we know, it it isn’t free, it isn’t worth it.