Un article de James Patrick Kelly


Toujours sur le site de la revue Asimov's, on trouve un article de James Patrick Kelly sur la gratuité.

Voici le début.

"It’s time to talk about free. Actually, we’ve been talking about free for the ten plus years that I have been your net columnist. As you have no doubt discovered by now, vanishingly few of the sites that I commend to your attention ask you to pay money for the use of their content. Strictly in terms of dollars and cents, most of the sites we discuss here are functionally free. However, there are economic transactions of sorts going on between you and any site that you visit as a result of reading this column—only they take place in the currencies of the net. You “pay” attention (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attention_economy) by clicking over to a site. And if you like what you see on a site, you might mention it to friends, or link to it on your blog or from your website, enhancing its reputation. And since many businesses and netizens have found ways to convert “wealth” in the attention and reputation economies into the kind of wealth that they can deposit in banks, maybe we need to come to a new understanding of free.

The spark for this month’s exercise in freethinking is the publication of a controversial book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price ( amazon.com/Free-Future-Radical-Chris-Anderson/dp/1401322905 ), by Chris Anderson thelongtail.com. Anderson, as the editor of Wired ( wired.com) and author of the influential The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More (amazon.com/Long-Tail-Future-Business-Selling/dp/1401302378), is one of the Pundits-General of the new century. You may recall that back in 2006, Anderson pointed out the under-exploited potential of niche markets. While bestselling books, movies, and CDs will inevitably yield big profits, products that appeal to smaller and more diverse audiences can command a significant market share. These products form the eponymous “long tail”; it was Anderson’s insight that businesses that can find a way to store and sell them (think Amazon and Netflix) will prosper. Now he’s back with Free, thinking very hard about how to make money by giving stuff away for nothing."
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