Obtaining things for free is fast becoming a thing of the past. This is especially true online. Internet users were shocked in early November when Napstar, a company associated with free music online, announced a plan to begin charging for money for its popular service. It is also rumored that Scour Exchange, another free music service, will soon be charging for their services .
Dan Campi, chief executive of Punch Networks, which makes software that lets consumers share files over the Internet, has discovered that customers are willing to pay for services. People will have to realize that free doesn t last forever; there s no free lunch on the Internet, he states. People will most likely have to start paying (or paying more) for other services as well.
Free Internet service has swept the country in the last year or so-- it relies on advertising to support it. But this may change some day as well; if companies feel that customers are willing to pay, they are likely to charge. The days of relying solely on advertising are numbered, states Bob Visse, product manager with Microsoft s MSN.com Internet portal.
Napstar agreed to add a fee to it s service to settle litigation with music companies over lost royalties, but many other companies such as Yahoo and America Online are thinking about adding fees simply because they can. MSN sees a potential to charge money for a host of services from online music to gaming and long-distance calling. Other companies feel that they, too, can get away with charging a nominal fee for their services.
In all fairness, one of the main reasons these companies see fit to charge money is because they feel they are helping the consumer. If they can help their customer save money, or even make money, shouldn t they reap the profits also? We ve all heard the phrase that nothing in life is free and it appears that online, it s quickly becoming true.