For media companies, free content is a vehicle for advertising.
For individual authors, free content or free code is a vehicle for the author’s name and reputation.
- Another way of stating the first sentence: for media companies, the content is not the product. Content is just the means to create an audiences. The audience they sell to the advertisers is the product.
- I know the distinction between individuals and companies is overstated: people do have advertising on their blogs, a very tiny minority even makes a living of it…
Companies also do the second trick: MySql’s free gpl-licensed database is the best marketing tool for the same product under a commercial license.