We all love our free stuff: search, social networks, review-sites - it's all good. However, free is a bad fit for quality. Services like FeedBurner (which tracks stats about the subscribers to your feed) are free. This means two things:
- You don't need to pay to get value from it.
- You have no recourse when it doesn't work, or isn't consistent, or ...
While many free services do work with traditional market pressures (if you don't like Google, you can go to Ask or wherehaveyou), services like FeedBurner do not transfer. Essentially, if you find yourself using a unique service which is free, don't expect to be able to apply any customer pressure (especially if revenue is being generated by a minority of paid up customers while you, the majority, are marginal).
Hopefully, Chris Anderson is going to explain why free does work in his next book (though at his recent talk at KDD he was talking about a different book studying the economics of shoes...)
Did I mention: FeedBurner reported 30% fewer subscribers today for this feed.