Economy Changing Free Web Apps?

I’ve been reading a lot about bigger web companies laying of 10% or 25% of their staff in both reactive and proactive strategies to lower costs to make up for bad economy. This brings up some interesting questions, one of which tends to make me worry.

Are all these free web services we use everyday going to make a jump to paid services?

Things like Gmail, Pandora, Mint, etc, etc.

The way I see it, It can swing either way. On one hand, this struggling economy may force said companies to switch to paid services to make a little extra dough. On the other hand it may force some to work harder and even go open source. There is big money is free these days. I know that it is an old example but plentyoffish.com is a totally free dating site. It is generic and simple but it works. Craigslist is free and simple. However, both make a fair amount of money each month.

Switching from free to pay wouldn’t be a bad idea either. We are all hooked on something free. It’s the old drug dealer mentality. Let have a hit for free then charge them after that.

How many of you could go without your gmail? How many teenagers would beg their parents for their credit card so they can pay the $10 or $20 a year charge for Myspace?  The answer is an absolute TON.

I am a huge supporter of open source. I LOVE linux and if the new G1 phone was able to handle T-Mobiles UMA service I would have one of those as well. The open source platform is just amazing.

There is an old saying “many hands make light work”

What if some of these companies that were struggling went open source? Allowed people help help change and update their code? They would be able to keep a minimal staff and still would be able to grow. There would be a lot of room for adverts here and there.

Ubuntu, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, etc. These are all open source operating systems and they are constantly being updated by users and programmers all over the globe.

Every time I flip open my laptop I swear there are new updates for my Ubuntu install.

Kind of a last minute not thought out post but I think it is important to share knowledge. It’s the only way we can advance to the level we want to.

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