The price of free?

The price of free isn’t the same as ‘no cost’.  Likewise ‘open source’ doesn’t equal free.  Also ‘free subscription’ doesn’t mean that you don’t pay.  The price of free, often or not, is yourself.  You my friend are the product and the systems you sign up for as ‘free’ are a contract to your willing participation in being sold.  Sorry for the harsh reality but folks really need to be able to differentiate between corporate and personal, and make a value judgement on what they’re prepared to sell in return for a service.  As an individual it’s your choice and there are some services that I will happily use in return for being the recipient of some blatant, if ill-targeted, advertising.  We should however be professionally concerned with the attraction of our charity colleagues to these so-called ‘free’ services.  It might be easy on the budget to sign up for free web hosting but what will your supporters think when your website is surrounded by garish banner ads selling dodgy medication and worse?  This and many more real examples can be shared by your CSF colleagues so don’t let the price of free be your reputation.

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