Clipping the ‘Long Tail’

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Digital technology has lowered the cost of production to the point where giving things away for free has become a legitimate business model. “Once a marketing gimmick,” writes Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired and author of The Long Tail, “free has emerged as a full-fledged economy.”

The problem with this “freeconomy,” Andrew Orlowski writes for the New Statesman, is that eventually, someone is going to have to pick up the bill. Anderson and Wired are both pushing a techno-utopianism, according to Orlowski, that mixes “manifest destiny and opportunistic hucksterism.” For many years, and two economic busts, the message worked. Now, Anderson’s new book Free isn’t meeting with rave reviews, and Wired (like many magazines) is struggling to survive. Orlowski writes:

“So, perhaps the Wired era is over, departing like a snake-oil salesman at a medicine show who–having poisoned the town–can’t leave quickly enough”

Sources: Wired, New Statesman

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