Who among us does not like to receive something for free? Whether times are tough or not, most of us appreciate not paying for something we want or like.

The World Wide Web has taken this to new heights. There are all kinds of sites with all kinds of content that we access for free.

Music, art, entertainment, books, sports, games… you name it. In fact, how many of you when faced with a paywall for premium content just decide to go somewhere else? I know, I’ve done the same.

You probably have to really want the content to decide to pay for it, because in most cases you can get what you’re looking for elsewhere for free.

But this “free” content comes at a price. The creators of the content certainly incur expenses to produce the content. So how is it that so much content is available for “free”?

There are several dynamics at play. In most cases, owners of large website operations can monetize the traffic they receive by selling advertising, allowing them to offer content for free.

If you can show that you get millions of hits every day, advertisers will find you valuable and will be willing to pay for the privilege of being visible on the site. Or they pay for the clicks they receive on the ads displayed on the site.

To continue to receive millions of visits every day, these sites require new and interesting content all the time. After all, if the sites you visit have the same thing every day, you probably won’t frequent them very often. So how do you solve the problem of continually acquiring new and interesting content?

If it’s a news site, it’s up to reporters to develop and report on stories as part of the news cycle. This is a very expensive operation, after all reporters should be paid for their efforts. Some news sites rely on donations from their visitors to support their operations and run regular fundraising campaigns to keep their operations running. Other sites are owned by larger organizations that find it valuable to maintain an Internet presence and can afford the effort to gather news, although they still tend to sell advertising.

Several of the big social networking sites found that the best way to continually acquire new and interesting content was to allow their visitors to provide the content themselves.

Every photo, post, update, etc. it is content provided for free by visitors and then monetized by sites. Now this might seem like a pretty fair compromise in this context. Visitors (you and me) get a nice site with all kinds of new content, we can connect and share with friends, and they don’t charge us anything. It’s free! If we!

You may not consider yourself a content creator, but generally speaking, when you upload photos or post videos of your dog or cat doing cat and dog things, or make a post that provides some of your life lessons, you are a content creator. contents. .

However, let’s think of content creators with a slightly narrower definition. Let’s look at writers, musicians, singers, artists, videographers, etc. In many cases, these content creators produce their content at great expense to themselves. If you are an unknown content creator, one of your first tasks is to find a platform or forum to get exposure for your content.

There are many niche websites that cater to these specific areas, so the content creator is tempted to provide their content for free to the site with the carrot as it will gain exposure for their content and gather new fans of their work online. the way. . Many of these sites even provide a means for the content creator to sell their content directly to site visitors. This sounds wonderful in theory.

The content creator can expose their content to many people, many more than the content creator could reach on their own. The content creator has a platform to offer their content for sale to those who are interested, with perhaps a small portion going to the website owner. A win for all, right?

Well, not quite. There is still the culture of freedom to win. Visitors have become accustomed to receiving our content for free. And while we may like some content, maybe even like it enough to consider it carefully, but when it comes to clicking the “BUY” button, there’s a tendency to move on, because we don’t have to have it. And there is more free content available elsewhere.

It’s still a win for the site owner, because he can monetize visits and sell advertising. However, in this scenario, the content creator is left trying to figure out what they need to do to close the deal with the consumer.

Of course, it’s the content creator’s job to make their content as compelling as possible so that a consumer finds it worth purchasing. But the Culture of Freedom is a difficult obstacle to overcome in this context. Before so much content was digitized, it needed to be acquired through whatever distribution medium was available. In the absence of that, there weren’t many free legal means of accessing or acquiring content, beyond free radio or television broadcasting, or in the case of print media, heading to the newsstand or bookstore.

Content creators are faced with an ever-expanding landscape where everyone is competing for attention and so much is being offered for free that it has the effect of devaluing the creative efforts of content creators. Some would say that the cream will continue to rise to the top, even in this environment. And that content creators simply have to be more innovative to draw attention to their work and produce more engaging content.

Ultimately, I think content creators are much better served if they take every measure possible to drive traffic to their own websites. Content creators can still choose to make some of their content available for free to their visitors, but at least any monetization would directly benefit content creators.

And yes, I recognize the irony that this article will probably appear on some of the bigger sites I’m referring to that aggregate content for free from content creators like me.

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