One thing I've wondered of late about is the business model for these "free" services. Other than advertising, how will they sustain and remain? The market is saturated with these services and none of them have made it like MySpace and Facebook (although you aren't hearing much about these kids any more either). The long tail is becoming really, really long here.
Yes, some of us use these services to connect, recruit and prospect – using these platforms to market our organizations and our products and services – and we've benefited, some more than others, but we've benefited.
But can they build to sustain and remain? Free is cool, but if these services struggle with adoption and utilization, then they will cease to exist. At a minimum these services will have to move to LinkedIn-type premium accounts. And to do that they will have to prove themselves a long-term value to customers with a measurable return beyond business-light entertainment.
The other day, one of my colleagues forwarded me an article by Chris Shipley from DEMO.com called Web 2.0 and free are kaput, Next - the smart, distributed, transparent Web.
Revelation! Excellent points that include:
Which is really the people-play side of Web 2.0 and beyond. We're recently built our new Community platform that allows HR suppliers to post free buyer guide profiles – but there are limitations to what you get for free, and only paying members receive full benefits of visibility, traffic and lead-gen. Our HRmarketer memberships and retainer-based marketing/PR services combined prove to be formidable one-two punch.
As HR suppliers, whether you use these online services to deliver content, connect and promote – or whether you're developing the latest workforce management widget that will get your prospects onboard the help-my-company's-bottom-line train – build to sustain and remain.
Post by Kevin Grossman