The Cost of FREE

Dating Kinky is a free site. So is Facebook. And Plenty of Fish, and our FB for the kinky, FetLife. Starbucks offers Free Wi-Fi, and so does McDonald’s. Everywhere, there is free.

Except, as the Robert Heinlen said, TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, meaning that someone always pays. There is usually a cost to the beneficiary and society as well.

(NOTE: Uses of the phrase dating back to the 1930s and 1940s have been found, but the phrase’s first appearance is unknown. The “free lunch” in the saying refers to the nineteenth-century practice in American bars of offering a “free lunch” in order to entice drinking customers ~more~.)

So, these sites are not truly free.

Facebook is supporting itself on an advertising model. Plenty of Fish and FetLife mix advertising and freemium features.

Starbucks and McDonald’s expect you to buy food and drinks, and figure you’ll stay longer (and consume more) with the Wi-Fi, or choose them over a Wi-Fi-less competitor.

But, so what? Why do you care? You get free stuff!

Well, because knowing how free works allows you to make the right choices for you.

It’s easy to offer a free website like Dating Kinky for 10 people, or even 100. However, once you start having 1,000/10,000/1,000,000/10,000,000 people doing a lot of activity and so on, you’re looking at costs.

LOTS OF COSTS: Hundreds in hosting and email services. Thousands in development. Hundreds of hours of dedication every month, to improve, adjust, promote and grow the site.

For example, walking. Free activity, right?

Yes, but…

  • You have to eat enough to fuel the walking.
  • You have to be dressed right for the weather.
  • You have to replace your shoes every so often. The more you use them (walk), the more often you have to replace them and the more expensive it becomes…

Now, imagine that you chose to walk across the US, making at least 30 miles a day. Would it be free?

What if you and 1,000 other people did it? How might the logistics change?

Who would pay? Each individual (so, not free)? Sponsors (ad-based)? Believe you me, every single one of those people will have opinions on how you should walk, how it should be paid for, and suggestions on how you can do it better.

That’s what running a free site can be like. Take it from me.

So, why bring this up?

Well, partially because the topic was on my mind in relation to another issue (FetLife is having credit card issues), and partially because it needs to be said.

Does free mean I’m willing to give you a crap site? No.

Is the site where I want it? Nope. Not yet. And when it is, we will move to freemium. Because I will believe it’s 100% worth it, and I will be willing to ask you to help support it.

But, even if you don’t, I’ll love you for being here and being a part of my community as I grow it. And I’ll do my best to connect you with people.

Just know…

This is a labor of love for me. I believe in this. And it’s absolutely 100% not free.

Thank you. You make this all worthwhile.

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