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Sep
21

The Best Of The Web For FREE – But For How Long?

By Char


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On my recent flight across the Atlantic, I was catching up on some reading and came across a very interesting column in PC Magazine by John C. Dvorak on the YouTube Phenomenon. He compares the abundance of free and extremely functional services available on the web now to those available in 1999 (shortly before most of them went under). The more I thought about it, the more it occurred to me that you can get a lot for free on the web, and most of us have come to take it for granted.

Here are a few of these great, free services:

  • YouTube – Sky-rocketing traffic and popularity. With operation costs of at least $1.5 million per month, how is this site going to continue to function? My guess is that strategic partnerships with record companies (like Warner Music) and other media outlets (like Cingular Wireless) will help.
  • Flickr – Photo sharing at its finest. Developed in 2002 by a Canadian company, it was recently purchased by Yahoo! Basic services are free, but they do make some money on the upgraded Professional Accounts.
  • Skype – Call for free anywhere in the world from your computer, add-ons for a fee. I use this service regularly and highly recommend it to anyone doing business internationally or with friends and family all over the world. Skype was recently purchased by Ebay.
  • Honorable mentions include: Jot, Putfile, YouSendIt, Gmail, GTalk, Photobucket, Writely, and Blogger.

I wonder how many of these sites will survive? Or will they get bought out and evolve into “suites” grouped with other services? I’d love to get your take on this trend! Leave me a note expressing your view or share your favorite free service with the rest of us!

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