12.12 Reciprocity needs a network.

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    Giving only makes sense if you have a good network to give to. Only then will giving be a part of the social capital system, and someday you will receive something in return. So, giving something for free is something different than giving away something free of charge. Organizations who do not have access to a surrounding social structure cannot give. They can only literally give something away, because there is no possibility for the receiver to do something (indirectly) in return.

    The free of charge phenomenon has many industries in its grip. As a traditional organization, you can’t fight against free. But, eventually someone is paying for something somewhere. It’s true that Google offers many applications for nothing, but it receives a lot of data and information about you and me in return. That data is worth a lot of money to others. For example, Google gets paid well for its professional trend analyses. By giving, Google also generates a lot of visitors to its websites, so it can earn with its ads. Not everything can be paid for with alternative or non-tangible currencies. A book can be downloaded for nothing, but you do need to purchase a computer and Internet access to do so.

    And, as mentioned before, by giving free seats at our Seats2meet.com coworking locations, we get back online buzz, help desk assistance, market information, and sales assistance, saving us lots of real money and earning lots of real money in return by our loyal bookers.

    The freemium model is quite popular: the first step, or basic version, of a freemium product is free. Then, a price is charged. An example is a psychological test (“pay $ 4.95 to view the full results”). Or a simple piece of software that is free of charge, but the “pro” version has more, or better, or faster features, and costs little bit of money.
    Our S2m event software is free, as long as the event itself is free. The moment an admission fee is imposed, the organizer starts paying a small fee for the software.
    Or, you can design your own woolen hat, gloves, and scarf for free on www.granniesinc.co.uk/, and then it is knitted for a fee by a granny in the community.

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