The Allure of Free: Participation Strategies for Internet-Based Businesses

  • Author / Creator
    Hurley, Zenobia
  • While many Internet services and products are free to use, in most cases, they are not completely free. Someone, either the user or a third party, is paying for them either directly or indirectly. By examining the business models of three successful Internet-based companies, this thesis demonstrates the important role that users play in the revenue-generating practices of these companies. Users in these companies are not only customers, but also producers of content for the company. They add value by reviewing products, uploading content, or simply by participating in company-sponsored communities. While many of these activities may be satisfying to users on a personal level, in effect, users are giving up control of the content they produce over to the corporation. The attributes of collaboration and generosity that define truly user-run communities are being exploited by Web 2.0 companies to achieve commercial ends, and as such can only have a semblance of the true spirit of collaboration without all of its substance.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2009
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Stan Ruecker, English and Film Studies
    • Sean Gouglas, History and Classics