Free Is Bad
I am one of Yahoo's 196.6 million freeloaders.
I absolutely should pay them some money.
Over the past 9 years—beginning Nov. 14, 2005—I have sent more than 20,000 emails via Yahoo. Yahoo is archiving these messages (and attachments) in a searchable database. What a huge service I am getting free!
I would be happy to pay Yahoo $12 a year to guarantee continuation of this extraordinary service. Just 25 percent of Yahoo users agreeing to pay this buck a month would bring in $586.8 million in new revenue, which would drop straight to the bottom line.
I would love it if Yahoo hired on some old time direct marketers who know the mechanics of old fashioned merchandising.
I buy a ton of stuff over the Internet. I implore Mayer to make me some nifty offers in the tradition of Jeff Bezos and Michael Dell.
A Quick History of Free-to-Paid in Media
In 1947, my family bought our first television set. In the New York area (as I recall) were seven channels—all free.
That same year, 1947, John Walson Sr., an appliance store owner in Mahanoy City, Pa., had trouble selling TV sets, because reception in the story was lousy. Nearby mountains interfered with his signal.
So Walson put an antenna tower atop New Boston Mountain and ran the wire to his store. The following spring he offered the townsfolk a set-up for $100 and service to his antenna for $2 a month. [See the second image in the media player at right.]
Cable TV was born in 1947 and happy viewers have been paying for this service ever since.
Let's Not Forget Sirius XM
Ever since I can remember, radio has been free. Now you can buy a Sirius XM radio for $79.95 and sign up for one-year of service from $119.88 to $199.00. More than 25 million paying listeners are happily ponying up cash.