I’m predicting the death of free in the next one or two years. You heard it here first.

What the heck am I talking about? It used to be in our house that we only used services on the internet that were free, flickr, delicious, youtube, clearcheckbook, etc. In the past two years we have shifted to using Flickr Pro, Pinboard, Vimeo Pro, ClearCheckBook Pro, Rdio, and Netflix streaming, just to name a few.

Not only have we upgraded to the pro version of almost every internet service we use, but we also usually don’t start using a new service unless it has a paid version. Why? There are two primary reasons:

  • Companies charging money for their service are more likely to be around in 5 years.
  • I’m more likely to use a service if I’m paying for it.

The second reason is more interesting. It helps me weed out things in my life that are wasting my time. If I’m not willing to pay for something to use it, it most likely isn’t worthy of me spending any time to use it.

I think my generation (and my gen’s kids) are finally starting to take to heart the old saying “you get what you pay for”. Free stuff is for the most part crap, has strings attached, and ends up being a time sink.

The Freemium model still works, but I think its on the way out. The model that makes more sense to me is either just a great demo & paid service, or a free trial that pushes to paid.

Of course the irony of this post is I’m not paying for Tumblr, and I can’t seem to find anywhere where I can give them money. However, I am choosing Tumblr as my micro-blogging platform over Posterous because I think they are more likely to have a paid version in the future.