Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Paying for information, paying for advice

On TechCrunch there is an interesting article about paying for information. The question raised is: is information more valuable when you pay for it.

Valuable means that there is inherent value. When you consider if information will be valued, you get to a more fundamental question: is paid for information valued higher then information that came at no expense. The information from either source can be the same, the difference may be in the reputation of the source.

When a newspaper article is hidden behind a paywall, the article loses its power in a dispute as it is not readily available for verification. When a newspaper is hidden behind a paywall, it will slowly but surely lose its visibility by the general internet population. It will be left with a community of like minded people who will be disconnected from the general public.

When you need advice, expert advice, experts often do add value. They have taken the time to learn their subject matter well. A running shoe sold by an expert is likely to prevent you from injury. A real estate agent knows the market and prevents you from paying too much. By understanding their role, their added value, it becomes reasonable to pay for advice.

It is however not easy to recognise the value of advice. The best advice a person can get is often given for free. It is given by friends, parents. It is valuable because they know the person intimately well, they know the circumstances, the history better then a professional advisor will ever do.

The trick with information and advice is to understand what is provided and what makes it valuable. When you appreciate the value by making use of it and by thanking for the help that was given, you will have grown your network of people that are able and willing to help you.
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