I'm not a "business guy" or anything,so i can't go into all that jargon about markets and stuff,but still,I can put in my two cents worth of whatever is being put in.:)
Now,first off.I have a yahoo e-mail account.I also have a website(ok,I'll update it to start looking like a website)also by the courtesies of yahoo.Now,if that e-mail account wasn't free,I most likely wouldn't have it.I definitely wouldn't have the site.The only reason i signed up for these "services' was coz they was for free.And that fact was trumpeted all over for me to see.(Incidentally,although guitartricks is free,I think I'd pay to be on this forum if I had to.But then again I'd need to be on it to realise how good it is,and maybe I wouldn't have signed up in the first place if it wasn't for free to begin with.Go figure).Here's the two cents I was talking bout:markets onlt exist when there are things to consume and cinsumers to consume them.This market(the free internet) exists because the consumers become consumers by reason of the "goods" being free.If the goods weren't free,you wouldn't have consumers.And if you don't have consumers,then,poooof!your market's gone.You get a very nice scenery when those birds come to eat the grain you put on the bird table.You could take pictures of the birds.Maybe even charge people to see the birds.But sooner than (not soon as,sooner than)you stop putting out the grain,the bids dissappear.
I believe that if these things started being charged for,people would run away,probably so much that yahoo and co. would make less money charging those who remain than they were making when there was all that traffic and the advertisers thought it would pay to pay for banner ads.That will be for yahoo and co. to figure.It's a free market,and I think that at the end of the day,market forces will prevail.
Do I sound like your business 101 lecturer?Maybe.Most of these 'technical' issues emanate from normal life,and most laymen like me can figure them out.
Daniel:I thought you pay about 40-50 dollars per month for unlimited access on cable?You saying you talking here for free?Just wondering.