Phil Gyford’s website

Technovia: In the gift economy, who gets the biggest gifts?

One difference between these sites and conventional companies is that it might not be clear how the site owner will act in the future.

As an example, I don’t make any money from at the moment, and people contribute their discussion and find information to help others freely. I plan to keep the site free, and live, for at least the duration of the project (9.5 years) and longer if possible.

But if someone came along and offered me gazillions of dollars for the site, or I realised I could make a tidy living from advertising, there’s a chance I’d succumb and I’d be making money from the freely-contributed efforts of others.

Which is as if Henry Ford got his workers to work, for free, on a vast fleet of community-owned cars and, a year later, flicked a switch that meant people using them had to pay him (or something like that; I hear the sound of an analogy creaking).

My point is that until a site owner decides to start making money from it, there’s no way of telling whether a site will, ulimately, be Good or Bad (to simplify the spectrum).

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Friday 24 October 2008, 5:20pm

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24 Oct 2008 at Twitter

  • 9:01pm: Finally getting round to watching 'Arrested Development'. Very, very good.
  • 5:23pm: Half-way through revisiting every comment I've made on other websites since July 2004 (280 of them).
  • 1:46pm: Quite annoyed at self for vague reasons.