Why would anyone actually pay for information?

29 replies
There is so much free information already out there.

Who would pay for it?

That is, there's not a lot you can't find online when it comes to information. If I want to know how to be a better web designer for example, and learn how to do something specific when it comes to web programming it's easy to find what I need online.

Although to be honest I'd rather be Glen Beck on "The View" than try to learn all that web stuff...aren't there any easy shortcuts for slow guys like me? (Although I love Whoopi. I mean come on, Guinan was so cool. Not that I still watch Star Trek reruns every night...as much.)

Whether online videos, or tutorial sites, the internet has it all...and a lot for free.

And yet "newbies" will ask, "Why would anyone buy information when it's free on the internet in a gazillion places? Especially from me? I don't know anything of value..."

I used to relate. Completely. But I've recently done some thinking about this - especially because I just had an epiphany when I made a recent purchase. (I love that word. Doesn't it sound like I just composed a score? "This is my crowning achievement. I shall now direct for you Epiphany #24 in D.")

But it just recently really hit home for me why information will always sell.

So let's be clear for those of you that feel you have nothing to offer, and nothing to offer to sell because you feel like you can't compete with free, or even paid competition.

It's nonsense. The proof? Agree with it, disagree, like it, hate it, can't understand it...it doesn't matter. Information sells every day, all day long. That's obvious.

The better question is "why" information sells. So let's take an example that no one ever uses when talking about marketing online: Dog training.

Kidding.

Here's an example I'm more familiar with: Infants and knowing when to put them into their crib for the first time, and how to make it the first few weeks without having your heart break or going insane. (If you're a parent, I'm sure you just nodded your head. If not, bear with me, or go watch 24 hours straight of "American Idol" to get a quick taste of no sleep and some crying babies.)

I know that I can look online and find most, if not all the answers I need for free. There is a wealth of information on infant care or anything else for that matter. Why would I pay for it? There's no need right?

Let's start with the not-so-obvious. Even with all the information and different theories about co-sleeping with parents, the right age to introduce a baby to their crib, and how to deal with the heartbreaking separation anxiety I don't know which is most "accurate" with just a cursory search.

I don't know what information is most trustworthy.

Now if I come to a professional looking site that offers great free information and it "resonates" with me, well that might be enough. But here's the deal. Knowing that the information is free, I kind of feel like it's worth...well, whatever something free is worth.

And that's not necessarily bad at all. I don't want to get ahead of myself but even if I get the same information in a paid product, I value it more.

So maybe you're thinking, "I want to start this blog, but there are so many people doing it already, and no one would ever pay me for what I know. Why would they?"

When I'm looking for answers about the crib thing, (do I let my child cry? For how long? Is it ok to go in, take her out and rock her, and then put her back in? That kind of stuff...) I can see that there are not too many different schools of thought. You start to see a lot of the same answers.

So I've got a few good answers and feel fairly confident. I can make sense of it. But something's still missing.

How do I know for sure?

How do I know I'm doing it right? Hey, I'm not an expert and this is important. I want to know without a doubt what the right path is. And I'm afraid to completely commit. After all, I'm fallible. It's still new to me and I waver a bit. Yes, I've got "expert information," ...but do I really?

See I'm not really buying information, I'm buying you.

When I find a site I can trust, I know I'm getting an authority. And that's powerful, because an authority can confirm or deny what I can't - the reasoning behind the different methods and theories about babies and cribs and sleeping.

Sure, other places and sites may tell me those same reasons, but if I don't trust or know them, I still won't make the right use of that information. I want to believe an expert and it doesn't matter if most of the information can be found elsewhere.

Why? Because the authority has put their seal of approval on "this" information. I'm buying them. It's because of who they are that I trust the information. So even if I've seen it before, now I know what to go with.

Remember, I wasn't looking for an answer I that I liked or was previously committed to, I was looking for someone to believe in. And then I bought their product because I believed in them. I believed their authority and that they could specifically understand and help me.

Of course, there are other factors that help as well.

If I spend a decent amount on something, I value it more and use it more too. Paying good money (that will depend on the market) makes me more committed to the information, and more committed to you, and more committed to using what I paid for.

(I don't always trust products that are priced "cheap" - why would you sell your expertise for so little? Don't you value what you know? You can and should charge more - price has way more elasticity than you'd think. And I'll place the same value on your product that you do.)

So now I've paid for a product that gives me what I want. And that's confidence.

Confidence in knowing that I can relax because I've done the right thing. I've gotten the best information I could because you know what you're talking about and I've paid for it.

Of course if you're not an authority than at least you've saved me the trouble of having to search the internet all day because you've done the work for me and gotten it all together in one spot right? You can do at least that.

But you are an authority. You know things that others don't. And if you're marketing is done right, others will pay you handsomely for the privilege to learn what you know.

Because it's also "why" you know. You're the expert and you can tell them what works. This takes the decisions out of their hands, and that's why they'll feel great about paying you for your product.

So, don't be shy. Please, write that book or record that mp3. Just don't worry about how much is already out there. There are way too many people looking for answers not to get your "slice of the pie".

And I'd like to learn what you know. But it's up to you.
#information #pay
  • Profile picture of the author scottgallagher
    are you kidding me?!! That's one long post. You should take that down and use that content for a rant on a blog and put an except or shortened version here. You make some interesting points and it's very unclear what you want people to post about. It appears you have shared all angles leaving little room for discussion. Your post has value, don't get me wrong, but little value to a forum that is intended to create and spark discussion.

    As far as free versus paid. I tried the free version for a while and struggled. Something that is paid is merely similar content, but organized in concise fashion that weeds out all the noise. There is 90% noise, or more, on the Internet. This is the price you pay for free and it's a price I'm not willing to spend, it's too darn expensive. My time is worth way more than spending 5 hours learning something from free research than spending an hour learning something that I paid for.

    Having said this, I pay for quality education and do my best to deliver and sell high quality valuable education and continue to deliver quality free material to earn the business of my students.
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    • Profile picture of the author Nathan Alexander
      [QUOTE=scottgallagher;1779226]are you kidding me?!! That's one long post. You should take that down and use that content for a rant on a blog and put an except or shortened version here. You make some interesting points and it's very unclear what you want people to post about. It appears you have shared all angles leaving little room for discussion. Your post has value, don't get me wrong, but little value to a forum that is intended to create and spark discussion.
      QUOTE]

      Fair enough.

      Maybe it was kind of a rant. But one I would have appreciated hearing a while back. That's all.

      Everyone's in different places, and it's possible my experiences may just help push someone over the edge to feel good about taking action.

      (Maybe I'd just like to know if I helped. )
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      • Profile picture of the author scottgallagher
        [quote=Nathan Alexander;1779277]
        Originally Posted by scottgallagher View Post

        are you kidding me?!! That's one long post. You should take that down and use that content for a rant on a blog and put an except or shortened version here. You make some interesting points and it's very unclear what you want people to post about. It appears you have shared all angles leaving little room for discussion. Your post has value, don't get me wrong, but little value to a forum that is intended to create and spark discussion.
        QUOTE]

        Fair enough.

        Maybe it was kind of a rant. But one I would have appreciated hearing a while back. That's all.

        Everyone's in different places, and it's possible my experiences may just help push someone over the edge to feel good about taking action.

        (Maybe I'd just like to know if I helped. )
        Oh it helped! Like I said, the post surely had value and you shared a lot of great stuff. I just likely could have had more value elsewhere for you and used this forum to create more of a discussion. Just an opinion and I truly appreciated your time and effort sharing what you did. I have no doubt people who read it will get value, so I guess I'm wrong giving you advice!!! lol. I'm sorry I came off wrong to you.
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    • Profile picture of the author valerieSONORA
      Originally Posted by scottgallagher View Post

      are you kidding me?!! That's one long post. You should take that down and use that content for a rant on a blog and put an except or shortened version here. You make some interesting points and it's very unclear what you want people to post about. It appears you have shared all angles leaving little room for discussion. Your post has value, don't get me wrong, but little value to a forum that is intended to create and spark discussion.
      There's some room for discussion I don't believe in co-sleeping, the longer it goes on, the harder it is to break, next thing you know you gotta 8 yr old sleeping with mommy and daddy. :rolleyes:

      And I hate Glenn Beck and The View and the 2 together would be a nightmare from hell, but I wouldn't watch anyway.

      But on topic, I've wondered the same thing. Why would someone buy the guide to this and that when there's lots of information on it free? Some people do refuse to buy information. But others are interested, they do buy and its trading time for money as well as getting expertise. People would rather get it in 1 place at 1 time from a professional looking site that sounds like they are experts in the field than spending hours and hours googling and going thru various sites including conflicting info and crap sites.
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    • Profile picture of the author bdegrossa
      I agree... lost me after first couple of sentences!

      B.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    Precisely, Nathan. You get it. There's a whole bunch of free information out there, but we only have 86,400 seconds each day... all of us.

    So we trade MONEY for TIME. If an authority can compile all that information for us, filter out all the junk, and give it us in one place, we will often quite happily pay for it.

    Also, don't forget that not all information is "out there" on the Internet. Many times I can't find what I want specifically. There's a lot of fluff and filler on the WWW.
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  • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
    You can find about 90% of what you need to be successful online for free. What people pay for are solutions to their problems. You could search Youtube, this Forum and many other places and waste hours of your time sifting through all the sales pitches.
    Or...you could pay money to get your exact answer to your solution and fast track your success. In my past years of being a full time Internet Marketer, those who think everything on the Internet should be free, seldom make big money online.
    This is a BUSINESS...it costs money to run one, including a marketing budget.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan Alexander
    Paul -

    Thanks, great point, and very true. Unfortunately for me, it can be hard to tell the difference sometimes between filler, junk and what I want to hear (I can be gullible.)
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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan Alexander
    Also, I'd like to point out folks, that I'm for selling information. I hope my post is read that way.

    I'm making a point that you should not be afraid to be (or become) an expert, charge as an expert, and readily make your market aware that you have a way to serve them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Moffatt
    Originally Posted by Nathan Alexander View Post

    There is so much free information already out there.


    Although to be honest I'd rather be Glen Beck on "The View" than try to learn all that web stuff...aren't there any easy shortcuts for slow guys like me? (Although I love Whoopi. I mean come on, Guinan was so cool. Not that I still watch Star Trek reruns every night...as much.)
    I'd rather be a maggot feeding on a dead corpse that has been sitting in the hot Arizona desert for 2 weeks before being Glenn Beck.

    That human pile of waste almost makes me question god's existence.
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    • Profile picture of the author valerieSONORA
      Originally Posted by Jason Moffatt View Post

      I'd rather be a maggot feeding on a dead corpse that has been sitting in the hot Arizona desert for 2 weeks before being Glenn Beck.

      That human pile of waste almost makes me question god's existence.
      Before being him or having to watch him? If you were him, you'd really be you in his body.
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    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by Jason Moffatt View Post

      That human pile of waste almost makes me question god's existence.
      Almost? I don't see a capital 'G'...
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    • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
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      Originally Posted by Jason Moffatt View Post

      I'd rather be a maggot feeding on a dead corpse that has been sitting in the hot Arizona desert for 2 weeks before being Glenn Beck.

      That human pile of waste almost makes me question god's existence.
      And your post makes me question your brain's existence, lol.
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
      Originally Posted by Jason Moffatt View Post

      I'd rather be a maggot feeding on a dead corpse that has been sitting in the hot Arizona desert for 2 weeks before being Glenn Beck.

      That human pile of waste almost makes me question god's existence.
      To put things in context, I do not have any news networks on my TV, I do not listen to talk radio, and only knew Glenn Beck by name, but nothing more. That being said...

      I just saw Glenn Beck on C-SPAN and thought he was an excellent speaker. He knew how to work the room and he demonstrated sales skills as well.

      People that get so upset about someone having a differing opinion make me question the same thing.

      What really makes me ill is how much ANGER there is in today's state of affairs. Instead of offering a well thought out opinion, they'd much rather make over-the-top statements and talk about how much they hate each other.

      All the best,
      Michael

      EDIT: As for the OP...With all due respect, I tried reading it, but I found it a bit meandering for my tastes. So, I can only comment based I what I DID read. I find it funny that people wonder why others pay for information - haven't they ever heard of books?

      I think one of the reasons people buy information online is that it saves them time. They may be able to find all of the information for free...eventually. Selling a guide puts more information within easy reach. That's my guess.
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      • Profile picture of the author scrofford
        Originally Posted by Michael Oksa View Post

        To put things in context, I do not have any news networks on my TV, I do not listen to talk radio, and only knew Glenn Beck by name, but nothing more. That being said...

        I just saw Glenn Beck on C-SPAN and thought he was an excellent speaker. He knew how to work the room and he demonstrated sales skills as well.

        People that get so upset about someone having a differing opinion make me question the same thing.

        What really makes me ill is how much ANGER there is in today's state of affairs. Instead of offering a well thought out opinion, they'd much rather make over-the-top statements and talk about how much they hate each other.

        All the best,
        Michael

        EDIT: As for the OP...With all due respect, I tried reading it, but I found it a bit meandering for my tastes. So, I can only comment based I what I DID read. I find it funny that people wonder why others pay for information - haven't they ever heard of books?

        I think one of the reasons people buy information online is that it saves them time. They may be able to find all of the information for free...eventually. Selling a guide puts more information within easy reach. That's my guess.
        Wow you hit the nail on the head on both points Michael! People don't like Glen because of his different opinion, and yes there are book stores with thousands of books on the same subjects for sale.
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        • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
          Every time you pass a bookshop you can see that people are still buying information.

          Every time you go to a doctor's surgery you'll notice there are people waiting to pay for information from the doctor.

          Many professions and businesses are information based...basically selling information.

          There are many reasons we'll happily pay for information.

          Examples include:

          # Time...we want exact information right now.

          # We perceive the information we're buying is not easily available or obtainable elsewhere.

          # We want a customized solution.

          # We want information from a source we can trust.

          # We want information in a format that's easier for us to access.

          And there are many more.

          There is also one last and vital point.

          You would think that the more information people have access to the less likely they'd be to want more information.

          The opposite is true.

          Information fuels the desire for more information.

          Kindest regards,
          Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan Alexander
    Hey Scott, not at all.

    And see? I still have more to learn...I liked your idea. (I don't drink coffee, but those darn energy drinks get me all spun up and feeling itchy to write.)

    And Valerie, it took me a year to put the little lady into her crib. It always seemed more convenient for us as parents. We were wrong. MUCH easier to let her go to bed in her own room - for her and us.

    I happened to find a site with a doctor that just made sense. We trusted her information, loved the whole site with the forums and what not....it was easy to purchase what she was selling.

    As a side note, it was almost hard to find her products. I say this in the respect that the experience was more of a "oh, and you have something about this I can purchase?" as opposed to the straight shot at my wallet.

    I was more inclinded to trust her motives and information, although I'm sure that could be calculated as well. But it worked for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Edk
    I've officially thanked you and I'm doing so in longer style. And in writing this I just realise that if I'm going to write a book or ebook, even if the information is freely available somewhere, I'll be taking the additional marketing step of seeing the ratio of product availability/customers looking for it. Valuable post. Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author lcombs
    Any fool can dig a ditch. But, we'd much rather pay someone to do it for us.
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  • Profile picture of the author JennSpencerIM
    You can also get cars, a college education, clothes, groceries, hotels, just about anything for free (and I have)...so why would people pay for those things if they are available for free?? First of all, not everyone knows how to find those opportunities and secondly of all most are too lazy to take the additional time to find it for free. If you are offering quality content and helping people out with a specific problem or teaching them something new, it shouldn't matter if they can find it for free. If they wanted it for free, they wouldn't have purchased something so obviously they have seen the value in what you have to offer!
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  • Profile picture of the author Lisa Gergets
    A great post/rant/whatever.

    People pay for information because it's already compiled. It's why people pay for physical books on a subject as well...sure the info is out there, but do I want to spend hours finding it? UhhhhhlemmethinkaboutthatNO.

    Also, ask three people to write a report on any given subject and you'll likely find three different writing styles...one of which you'll prefer over the other two. So people make buying decisions based on stuff like that as well.

    I like your main point - just do it!
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  • Profile picture of the author bsmith2
    Nathan
    While it is true that anything can be found usually free of charge on the internet, most people either don't have time to look or more likely are to lazy to look. Thats what makes the millions of how to ebooks out there as successful as they are. However I think you made some really interesting points.
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  • Profile picture of the author drmani
    I just read this blog post yesterday morning:

    The Future of Information Marketing?

    It makes an interesting point - that information marketing is more about
    selling "connections" than products or information.

    It also makes a daring prediction - that whoever figures out how to scale that
    relationship building aspect will dominate the market in years to come.

    All in all, a nice read.

    All success
    Dr.Mani
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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan Alexander
    Hey Michael,

    Sorry, it was a "too-long" post. My thoughts kept going, and the fingers kept typing.

    Yea, I actually I agree with you. I was just taking on a newbie's piont of view that I sometimes hear.

    I am of the position that information will always sell. I was just trying to explain my take on why. And why new folks should not let the excess of information available for free ever stop them.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Nathan, it was indeed a long post. But those that waded through it found the answer to your original question in a single, short sentence buried about halfway down...

      "See I'm not really buying information, I'm buying you."

      As for the side discussion, and the passion involved, I think we may have the seeds of a very profitable business venture.
      Coming soon to a pay-per-view near you...

      The main event will be a handicap match inside a steel cage featuring Glenn Beck taking on the ladies(?) from The View. No count-outs, no disqualifications, just all-out war for supremacy among the mentally stunted (not to be confused with the mentally challenged - they're too smart to get involved)...

      Click the Belcher Button to reserve your spot to witness dogma fighting at its most vicious...

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      • Profile picture of the author neffanga
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        • Profile picture of the author vft8w
          Very true statements here. People pay for information because it's easier to pay a small amount of money to learn something than to waste the time searching for that same information. Success is duplicatable so people will always pay for information from someone who is successful if they're not acheiving that same level of success in their own lives.
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  • Profile picture of the author tweetzon
    i dont mind paying if is proven work and support helpline haha
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    Selling the cheapest real youtube views,subscribers, comments and likes! pm me for more

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  • Profile picture of the author DonTino
    I haven't read the full post but asking that question is like askking, Who would py to go to school?

    Bet what, a lot do so happily and all you get at school is information and nothing more.

    Tino
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