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July 16, 2009 - Spotting things you'll want to see today.

This is the July 16 2009 edition of Who's Blogging What, a newsletter that covers over 1,000 top web marketing blogs for online professionals involved in social media, search marketing, email, user experience and web analytics. Subscribers are updated weekly. If you would like to be kept up to date you may enter your email address in the box at the right.

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The radical cost of free
Chris Anderson's new book on a radical price

The hottest discussions this summer (for online business types) have been caused by the book 'Free: The Future of a Radical Price' by Chris Anderson (currently best known for his 'long tail' theme). Anderson argues that the radical nature of the 'free' price point creates opportunities for businesses to grow by giving away at least some of their services. Writing in the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell found two problems with Anderson's arguments. Gladwell noted that an audience united by free could be expensive to service (hence Google's burden of serving up millions of low value videos on YouTube). Gladwell's second counter argument was that the fixed costs of creating a product distributed for free were still costs that must be addressed.

Mark Cuban seemed to explain how both of the authors might be right with a post explaining that 'freely distributed' did not equal 'free' and that smart businesses designed cross subsidies to gain value from the free seekers.

Next up was Seth Godin, who supported Anderson's arguments while deeming them somewhat irrelevant because the free model that he described was already in force in the online world. Godin argued that 'free' was an efficient way for marketers to gain the most valuable of online commodities -- attention.

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