When looking at free software, I try to apply the criteria I'd use to decide whether to buy a sweater that's on sale.
If it were full price, would I buy it??
Free stuff does come with a cost. You choose to spend your time learning something when you could be doing other things.
On the other hand, free stuff does two things. These days you often get really good information because the market has become competitive. What's free today used to come with a high price tag.
Additionally, you get to test a potential resource, painlessly and with no monetary cost.
That's a good point, Luckiest. Measuring the value of a free product is as important as assessing the risks of exposing yourself to whatever information gathering the free offering may engage in.
In some cases, free introductory software or service can also provide a stepping stone to sales by giving a taste of what a total product will contain. If your free offering is of high enough quality, your business stands to gain overall sales to customers who liked the sample features enough to convert to a full product.
Do any of you have any thoughts on the use of free products or services, either as a consumer or a provider?
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