Wired Magazine CoverAs a businessman who loves technology, Wired is my favorite magazine.  I simply find no other business magazine as innovative, both in the way it is physically organized and designed.  But the real gold is the content.  The Editor In Chief of Wired, Chris Anderson, is one of the most visionary business thinkers of our time.  You remember “The Long Tail“? – an awesome read that nicely summarized the true power of the Internet to reach niche markets.  I had the pleasure of meeting Chris in person at Resource Interactive’s iCitizen event last year, as we were both speakers at the event.  He then ran the tables at conferences, keynoting seemingly almost every one that I attended.  “The Long Tail” had real business impact (see my post on it’s impact on eCommerce).  Chris deserves the success he earned – seeing a commerce-changing trend that none of us could as succinctly and powerful describe.

Now Chris and Wired strike again with a preview of his new book, “Free”, which is due in 2009.  The cover article of this month’s Wired is “Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business“.  If you want to read now what everyone will be talking about next year, read this article now.  It isn’t worth me summarizing here – trust me, it’s worth your 15 minutes to read the entire article by clicking the link above.

Free is a very powerful word-of-mouth driver, and Bazaarvoice has certainly placed a lot of “bets” in this area.  Currently, the following Bazaarvoice solutions are free (to at least one stakeholder):

  • ShoutIt!: Share your review on Facebook, digg, and Del.icio.us – free to clients and users; creates a form of advertising without the taint of being advertising
  • SyndicateVoice: free for shopping comparison portal partners, free for new clients for a period of time; creates a form of advertising without the taint of being advertising
  • BrandVoice: free high-converting user-generated content for clients from the customers of their manufacturing partners; leverages the power of channel marketing, which has existed since the dawn of vendors selling through the retail channel
  • Ratings & Reviews, Ask & Answer, Stories: free for users; gives them the context they need to make a purchase decision as well as connect with other customers; consumers used to pay for this type of content from people like “Consumer Reports”, or by physically driving to a store to speak to an in-store sales person who may or may not have the information and context that they need

I look forward to seeing how Chris’s new book shapes up, and I have no doubt that it will be impactful.  As he so eloquently describes in this article, free already surrounds us due to near free transistors and bandwidth.  As more businesses transform to be information-based, this trend will radically accelerate.

How are you using the power of free in your business?

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