Marketers, Interested in Some Karma?

Visualizing Chris Anderson's Free Economy

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David Armano's Visualization of Free
David Armano's Visualization of Free
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Here's a recent illustration of how the web works. Chris Anderson, author of "The Long Tail," is working on his new book in which he explores the notion of "free." Rather than hole himself up in a cabin somewhere while writing, he uses his blog to test out content, source external perspectives and even ask for a little help.

Several weeks ago Chris put together a couple of rough visuals of his "free models" in the hopes that someone could improve upon them. A Critical Mass co-worker passed the blog post on to me, knowing that I might take Chris up on the challenge as I love solving problems visually.

David Armano David Armano also writes the popular Logic + Emotion blog.
Within minutes of my post being launched, Chris provided feedback on my visual, I re-posted and he linked back to us.

The irony is that this little exchange is not only becoming more commonplace, but it's also reflective of the fourth model Anderson outlines as the "gift economy." People will provide things of value at no cost, and it's likely that something good can happen in return -- call it karma. Now that's something to think about as marketers. When was the last time you asked your customers for help? When was the last time you listened? And when was the last time you produced something of value only to freely "give it away"?
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