Software and Services Cost Money (even on the Web)

Brent has a few good comments on the price of services and software. I had a discussion along a similar vein as this with my friend Chris last week.

Chris and I are in a fantasy baseball league together and we use the Yahoo! fantasy sports system to run it. The league format is a points-based, weekly head-to-head league. Yahoo doesn’t offer this configuration in their free league, but they did in their paid league. The league cost $100 for the season, which would have been split between 12 teams for a cost of $8.33 per team ($1.39 per month, less than $.05 per day). That is a really reasonable price, and it included features some team paid for on their own at $10-12 a pop.

Anyway, we decided to use the free league with the Commissioner maintaining this site all season and mailing out daily updates. I would guess the poor Commish is spending at least 5 hours a week on the league – most of which would have been done for us by Yahoo (AND updated in real-time). I’m not the Commish, but I sure feel bad about all the time he’s had to spend running the league this year.

So why didn’t we each shell out the nickel a day to use the Yahoo pay league that gave us the format we wanted? Chris and I concluded that there were probably several reasons:

  • People don’t feel like they should pay for on-line services. This is the legacy of the many failed dot coms.
  • People didn’t like the idea of any monetary barrier to entry for the league.
  • And perhaps, people just don’t realize how much work maintaining a web site is.

Regardless, the attitude that everything online should be free has got to change for the service providers to be successful. What do you think, has a shift in this direction started already? Or are we still balking at the idea of paying for the services we use? The comments are open…