Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pondering the concept of Free on the Internet

Today has been a day largely spent contemplating the concept of making free proprietary information available to the wider public and where to draw the line when using "Free" as a marketing tool. I stumbled across an Etsy posting on Twitter recommending this article (and pod cast) entitled Free Is Not A Marketing Tool on the Make and Meaning website.

The issue of whether crafters should give their product and/or tutorials and inside information away for free is complex and hotly debated. On one hand, as Sister Diane the post's author, suggests, publishing your insider tips in a genuine manner builds a strong community, consumer confidence, good will and value in the online market place. The cash is bound to follow. On the other hand, skill and time are surely worth some measure of respect for both maker and patron.

I strongly urge a look at the post and a listen to the pod cast. My take home message was that Etsy sellers are flooding the market place with (at times dubious) handmade goods and not offering enough transparency in return. Hmm...Food for thought.

I will in the spirit of "Free" leave you now with a resource that I am learning to love - the 100% free of charge online jewelry making library some 22,000 + entries long of the Ganoskin Project. The helpful folks at Ganoskin make jeweler's tools and do their best to arm potential DIY jewelers out there with resources and support. I came upon their site whilst searching for free flush setting information to better understand and experiment with the process. I came upon this post, the guts of which I am happy to say looks very much like the basic concept of building a forest service road - something I am very familiar with. I cannot wait to try it out. For further info on the Ganskin Project, please visit this link:


  1. Very interesting discussion.

    As you know I have started looking into free as a means of promoting my blog and my products. But instead of just giving away my jewelry (which I will do at some time) I am doing tutorials and info on some of the OTHER crafts I do. For example my tutorial and give away of coasters (which you won, yeah!). I did it in hopes of promoting my blog and getting more people to follow me. My hope is that those who comment will actually follow, read my posts and promote my blog. But only time will tell!

    Martha Stewart talked about being an expert in your field in her book The Martha Rules. I dont have the book to EXACTLY reference what she said, but its along the lines of if you give away info for free, advice, etc people will view you as an expert and continue to come back to you in the future and purchase from you. They may take the info and run, but generally most people will value the time and info you gave out and will trust you and come back to purchase for you.

  2. Kittybeans, I love your take on sharing your knowledge for the purpose of elevating your (perceived) level of professionalism. I've been wondering how to put my credentials out there without feeling like I'm bragging or narcissistic.

    You and Martha are both putting your expertise to good use I think...Thank you for the insight.



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