tanstaafl

Feb. 12th, 2015 05:09 pm
kirisutogomen: (lifeboat)
[personal profile] kirisutogomen
What do you pay for that you could get for free? (Including premium versions of something you can have a basic version of for free, like Dropbox or Spotify or or LiveJournal or sex.) Why do you pay for it?

Date: 2015-02-13 02:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chanaleh.livejournal.com
Funny, I would think of sex as the opposite of the freemium model: the kind you pay for supplies only the most basic level of service; the really good stuff you can only get for free.


But to actually answer your question: I did pay for LiveJournal (back when you could get a permanent account for a one-time flat fee), and I do pay a subscription for Dreamwidth now. In these cases, the motivation is a combination of enhanced features (mostly the userpic count) and moral support (patronage for something that I want to continue to exist and think might not without the backing of users like myself).

I can't think of anything else that I pay extra for that isn't motivated by one of those two things. I might leave work to go buy a coffee in the afternoon, rather than drink the free stuff in the office, (partly because it's nice to leave the building but mostly) because the stuff in the office is nasty and it's worth my $2 to have a cup I actually enjoy = features. I use the public library constantly, but I also donated money to the NYPL every year I lived there, because I knew that I could just buy books if I wanted but not everyone can = patronage.

Here's a different model that maybe is another side of your question. My car has recently started wobbling and needs to get looked at. Now, as a first line of defense, my husband generally takes *his* car to the neighbor guy down the road, who will look at it and possibly even fix it for free (or in the longterm sense, in exchange for the occasional batch of homemade pierogi or whatnot; they have been neighbors for decades). But as a relative newcomer, I'm feeling like I would really rather take it to the shop and pay someone actual money to look at it... because I don't want to impose on the relationship with the neighbor guy, and would be more comfortable paying cash money to someone I am certain *wants* my business for that purpose.

In other words, "free" isn't necessarily free (per your subject line), and when it's a paid transaction, the costs are explicit, concrete and quantifiable, which can be a relief.

Date: 2015-02-13 03:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kirisutogomen.livejournal.com
Funny, I would think of sex as the opposite of the freemium model: the kind you pay for supplies only the most basic level of service; the really good stuff you can only get for free.

You've obviously been buying your sex in the wrong places. Of course Taco Bell sex isn't going to be as good as homemade, but I don't expect homemade to be able to compete with Eleven Madison Park sex.

Seriously, though, I am also interested in things like sex that are whatever the opposite of freemium is ("costgratis"?).

Date: 2015-02-13 01:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nuclearpolymer.livejournal.com
Huh, I assume there are many things in this category. Like, bread. I occasionally buy bread, but it's so over produced that bakeries are always giving away end-of-day bread.I guess I am paying for a choice of flavors, the convenience of getting it at the time when I'm getting other groceries, and the avoidance of embarrassment about scrounging for free food which I can afford to buy. Similar for buying toilet paper instead of taking the left over half rolls from work, which are often replaced by full rolls by the custodial staff and then left lying around. I have sometimes bought the upgrade version of SurveyMonkey for work use, because I want to send out surveys with more questions than are allowed by the free version. I paid the optional fee for HogwartsIsHere (Harry Potter MOOC) because I thought it was a cool idea and wanted to support it. I pay to subscribe to delivered bottled water at work instead of drinking out of the taps because I mostly drink tea, and I'd rather get the near-boiling water out of the bottled water dispenser to put into my electric kettle rather than the chilled drinking fountain water, and I also have a bit of a psych lim about drinking tap water from a sink in a public bathroom. I've paid for a travel agent to book flights that I thought were going to be particularly complicated or prone to disruptions, in order to be able to just call them if a problem came up. I pay for a rabbit sitter when I'm out of town because I'd rather not ask a friend to do it, because then I'd feel like I had to pet sit for them later. Similar for taking a taxi or staying in a hotel instead of asking for a ride or couch space, though the hotel part is usually more about the convenience of staying right near where I need to go. I get my hair cut at a barber shop every couple years, instead of having a friend do it, because I've had much better looking outcomes with a professional. I assume that the majority of stuff I buy could probably be obtained through non-cash means like barter or DIY, but buying stuff is easier, faster, has more options available and avoids the need for so much interpersonal interaction. I do belong to a time trade circle but don't use it extensively.

Date: 2015-02-13 03:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kirisutogomen.livejournal.com
I love that you've adopted "psych lim" into your vocabulary.

Date: 2015-02-13 04:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nuclearpolymer.livejournal.com
Sounds cooler than calling them personal hangups.

Date: 2015-02-13 04:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tirinian.livejournal.com
Hmm. I buy collections of webcomics that I could just read on the web for free - some combination of premium features (reading a book is still easier than flipping through N webpages one at a time) and support for something I want to keep existing seems like the right explanation.

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