Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic
Made ya look. But honestly, you don't have to go far to find free things on the web. Mail, music, news, coupons, blogs, even web design. If you're paying for almost anything, you're a sucker. (I am always horrified when I go to a news site and have to pay for an article — which is hilarious, given a) how much I pay for shoes, and b) the public radio model is just to beg for money. (Now take this moment to go pledge or something.) I do everything on the web — and I do it all for free, and mostly through Google, but also with the help of Tumblr, Weebly, Digg, and all the other various Lifehacker recommended sites. Which of course begs the question: How the heck are they making any money? (My online banking is free, too, FYI.) Someone's got to pay for those awesome Google nap pods. (I just use the floor under my desk.)
The advertising revenue model might not be the saving grace of social networks and webmail it's cracked up to be. But venture capitalists are still putting money into these things. The question is, What business model do they think will give them a return on their risk? We'll ask them today. Come out of your nap pods, people. Let's get thinkin'.