Subject: Re: Free *Network* Software Business?
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 2008 15:59:08 +0900

Seth Johnson writes:

 > I've often speculated that one might be able to sell the *quality* of
 > information -- its accuracy, its completeness, its timeliness, its
 > usability in terms of attributes available for whatever uses one
 > needs, common understanding of its specifications and "business
 > terms", its scalability and flexibility generally in terms of
 > nonredundancy and reuse.

Speculate no more:  Alta Vista, Yahoo, Google.  Of course,
generalizing as you have indicated is more difficult, but we have one
example of a multi-billion dollar business model based on selling
quality of information, and the rapid turnover of the leaders
demonstrates your thesis that it's hard to maintain leadership.

Note also how the movement of the newsmedia onto the 'net has
basically kicked their traditional business model (advertising) out
from under them.  They're still using it, but it's no longer capable
of supporting what I consider high quality.  Rather, more and more
they're moving to selling subscriptions to either extreme timeliness
(Bloomberg financials) or extreme completeness aka archive access
(NYT, Economist).