While the organizations all charge something, not one puts content behind a true paywall. To do so would prevent Google search bots from indexing the content.
So, basically the way search engines work (and this is not limited to Google I guess), limits the way you can drive business models – obvious but I never looked at it that way. The challenge is how do you balance “free” with still earning money? Joe quoted an Open Letter by Bill from 1976:
Most of you steal your software…One thing you do do is prevent good software from being written. Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free?
To be fair: Even though I love my job, I do not work for free – I expect Microsoft to pay me for the work I do – and so far they keep doing it.
The conclusion is:
Google’s free worldview and business approach is fundamentally changing the value of content and other intellectual property produced at cost. I’ll end with this question: Should people be paid for things they produce?
It is actually an interesting philosophical debate to look at – something, which should be discussed without the usual emotions in but on a factual basis.