Tomorrow I head out to Buying & Selling eContent in Scottsdale.  It’s a great conference for me because there’s always an excellent mix of content partners, customers and software vendors.  This year it will be a little smaller than usual, but there’s still a terrific line-up of attendees.  On Monday I am leading a lunchtime discussion about the freemium business model. It’s an often told story, but in March of 2006 Alacra Board member Fred Wilson was looking for a name for his favorite business model.

Give your service away for free, possibly ad supported but maybe not, acquire a lot of customers very efficiently through word of mouth, referral networks, organic search marketing, etc, then offer premium priced value added services or an enhanced version of your service to your customer base.
I would like to have a name for this business model.  We’ve got words like subscription, ad supported, license, and ASP, that are well understood.  Do we have a word for this business model?  If so, I don’t know it.

Jarid2 Alacra’s VP of eCommerce at the time Jarid Lukin, thought up "freemium" and that was that.  Since the discussion I am leading is outdoors and during lunch, I won’t have any presentation materials.  What I’ve done instead,for those attending my session to look at once they are back home, is list some of the key blog posts and materials on the web that delve into the upside and downside of adopting a freemium model.

Blog Posts:

My Favorite Business Model by Fred Wilson, March 23, 2006

The Freemium Business Model by Fred Wilson, March 23, 2006

Startup Pricing Models: Free Forever, Freemium and Freedom to Pay by Dharmesh Shah, May 16, 2007

Startups and the challenges of the freemium business model by Dharmesh Shah, May 16, 2008

The 'Freemium' Business Model: Not Quite a Slam Dunk by Nilofer Merchant, June 5, 2007

Freemium is not a business model by Mark Evans, October 17, 2008

What is a free customer worth? by Chris Anderson, November 4, 2008

How to create a profitable freemium startup by Andrew Chen, January 19, 2009

Three Freemium Strategies by Eric Ries, January 27, 2009

e-Books, presentations, articles:

Freemium 101: A Brief Introduction to the Freemium Business Model

"Free" Pricing: Models and Strategies

Free: Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business, by Chris Anderson