I just read a tweet from another photo consultant who used the word freeconomy. She wrote something about “in our online freeconomy” and I was struck but the linguistic fallacy of the word.
What freeconomy? Seriously… what is free in our economy except the content that creatives are giving away because they are buying into the mythology of free somehow generating revenue? Free can’t get you anything in the real world or even online, legally.
Except creative content, and that’s because artists keep giving it away.
Can you pay your rent or mortgage with attributions, likes, or +1s? Buy groceries? Gas? Pay your bills? Feed your kids/pets/self?
Will your doctor, dentist, mechanic, plumber, hair stylist, or any other service provider perform her/his service in exchange for you liking him/her?
Can you buy stock in Google for free, for +1ing it?
How about products on Amazon or iTunes? Can likes gets you a novel or a song?
So just what is this freeconomy?
It’s the illusion that is being sold to creatives that in order to have the world value their work they themselves have to devalue it completely by letting others use it for free. An illusion created by those who exploit the work made by creatives, so that those users can make more money by decreasing their costs. If they don’t have to pay you for your work they use, they get higher profit margins for the stuff they sell. For real money. Like real businesses have and will do. Forever.
Stop being suckers! There is no freeconomy–the world works on money and unless you are making it by selling your work (selling licenses, whatever), your business will fail.