About 1% of the feedback to my ridiculous Tumblr Error Page post has been that I’m a stupid jackass for complaining about a free service (the other 99% is likes and agreeing reblogs). But here’s the thing, folks: I’ve been complaining for years that Tumblr is free. I don’t want it to be free. I want to pay for it. Tumblr is one of the few services on earth that refuses to take my money. And it’s a shame, because rather than taking VC or running a tiny team, they could be charging customers, making money, and growing the service while remaining stable.
I’m of the opinion there’s no reason to give away a product for free if you want it to succeed. Sure, there are outliers here, but most of them, such as Gmail, use advertising anyway so they’re not technically free. Eventually, everything costs money. Don’t wait until it’s too late and then have to decide between angering cheap customers or being successful. Most users of free services are douchebags. I’ve no doubt that 90% of Tumblr’s users would flee if there was a monthly cost announced, but that’s fine—you don’t want those users long-term anyway. If someone isn’t interested in supporting your service, they’re not a good customer. Real customers spend fair amounts of money on things they appreciate.
Restaurants aren’t going around giving away free meals. It’s a business. It costs money to run, even more money to run well, and you expect people who solicit your service to pay their fair share. Why are internet businesses any different?
Agree with a lot of this but “Most users of free services are douchebags” to me is too dismissive of people who can’t afford to pay, even though i think there’s definitely some truth to that. Although to be on tumblr you have to have an internet connection, and realistically, probably an average to fast one at that, so there’s already a certain level of wealth or financial security that’s already necessary i guess.
Do agree with the general thrust of this, in the last year or so i’ve started to seriously think about putting my money where my preferences are as far as news coverage and media is concerned, now also thinking about internet services and just general stuff. If you’re able to pay it’s certainly worth considering.