The Free Lunch?

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A quick follow-up to my recent piece (see here) about the prospect of AM/FM receivers going away – not because of market demand (that is, for lack of interest in AM/FM broadcasts) but because of pressure from some quarters to replace it with cable TV-style pay-per-view.

Or rather, pay per listen.free lunch pic

It occurred to me that this is of a piece with the Googling of online advertising via the  “pay-per-click” model, which I’ve criticized previously.

It’s not a fair – much less a free – exchange. In effect, Google expects publishers to pay for ads – or rather, to give them free space (and visibility) and access to the site’s audience, which amounts to the same thing. The advertiser only pays the publisher when someone actually clicks on the ad.

Meanwhile, the site is plastered with ads that are making money for the advertiser by touting the product/service, making the brand name a household word… and so on

The beauty of AM/FM is that it’s free in the sense that listeners are not compelled to pay to support it. They may do so, by purchasing products or using services advertised on-air.

But it is strictly voluntary, strictly free exchange. Turn the dial – or turn it off – or turn to something else.

Libertarians don’t expect a free lunch. They just don’t like being “nudged” (cue Cass Sunstein) in a certain direction… which direction often includes someone else’s hand reaching into their wallets.

Upcoming stuff: There’ll be a rant about wheel bearings (neglected maintenance 101!) up shortly and I should be making an appearance on the Kate Dalley show, too.

Thanks to everyone who’s chipped in – we’re almost there (see pie chart). If a few more people step up, we should be able to clear the month in the black… which would make it four months in a row!

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3 COMMENTS

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