The New Price Point? 'Free' Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired magazine, talks about his new book Free: The Future of a Radical Price. Anderson theorizes that businesses can profit by giving it all away on the internet.

The New Price Point? 'Free'

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Google announced yesterday that it's developing an operating system for PCs that will be tied to the Web browser released last year. The operating system will be free.

How can companies give things away on the Web, yet make a profit? That's what Chris Anderson tries to answer in his new book, "Free." Anderson is the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine. In "Free," Anderson says that despite giving most of its services away for free, Google has found a way to become one of the most profitable companies in America. Chris Anderson, welcome to FRESH AIR. Why did you want to look at how free could actually be a good business model?

Mr. CHRIS ANDERSON (Author, "Free: The Future of a Radical Price"): You know, it came from this reflection on the paradox that is our modern age. It seems that almost everything online is available for free in one form or another, and yet we're trained to believe that there's no such thing as a free lunch, and you get what you pay for. And in this confusion over the meaning of free and the economics of free, I thought there was something changing, and that deserved a deeper look.

GROSS: Now you talk about the paradox of free, that people are making lots of money charging nothing. Give us an example of, you know, a company or a Web site that succeeds in doing that.

Mr. ANDERSON: Well you know, the idea that you can make money from giving things away is, of course, the media-business model dating back to the beginnings of broadcast. Radio was free to air. People are listening to this for free. Television over broadcast is free, and the idea that media could give away a product to consumers and then make money from a third party, the advertisers, is, you know, 100 years old or more.

What's happened online is that we have started, as we moved online and the, you know, underlying digital economics allowed you to give away things for free because the costs are very low, the first thing we did is we just applied that traditional media model of throwing ads against it. And then Google got smarter, and Google built a whole company around very clever ads, but it was still the same model: a third party subsidizes you, the consumer.

What we're now seeing, especially as the recession has diminished the advertising, you know, pool, is we've had to invent a new form of paying for free. And that's something called freemium, where a tiny minority pays for the majority, that the free version gets you huge scale and millions of people, where the premium form gets you a few really engaged ones who pay.

GROSS: Give me an example of what you mean with the freemium.

Mr. ANDERSON: Yeah, so I mean, an example might be the Wall Street Journal as a Web site. You know, you hear often that this is a tectonic debate over free versus paid in the newspaper industry with the Wall Street Journal, you know, flying the banner of paid and the New York Times currently free. And in fact, what you see with the Wall Street Journal is that it uses both free and paid. Some of the most popular stories are free, if you come at it via Google News it's free, but as you get into some of the more niche content, it becomes paid. As you get into the archives, it becomes paid.

GROSS: So you see this as a new model in online use, that you get in the door for free, but once you're in the door, there's things that you might have to pay for and other things that you can continue to access for free.

Mr. ANDERSON: Yeah, you know, it's interesting. This is the first really new business model I think we've seen out of the Internet. The others were largely projections of 20th-century models. Freemium is an inversion of the old free sample.

So you know, if you go to a department store, you'll get a spritz of free perfume, or if you go to Starbucks, you'll get a bit of a cookie or a muffin, and those ideas, those free samples are - you give away a couple percent or less as a sampler to drive demand for everything else.

Online, it's just the opposite. You give away 80 percent, 90 percent, 95 percent, you know, even more for free because again, the underlying costs are so low in digital stuff, and then that free achieves incredible recognition. You know, it's very easy for people to try it, and that becomes a form of marketing. And rather than telling people how cool the product is, you let them try it, and then some fraction of them say that's terrific, but I want more. And then you have something more to sell them.

GROSS: So are companies actually making a profit doing this?

Mr. ANDERSON: The Wall Street Journal does make money on its Web sites, and you know, it's not clear that all newspapers could follow that model. It's clear that a really unique and high-quality, you know, provider - New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Economist, et cetera - they seem to be able to do this quite well, which is that they're offering something distinct.

The problem with the Internet and getting paid is not so much that we made a mistake 10 years and let the genie out of the bottle and said ooh, you know, Web sites should be free. The problem is infinite competition. There's so many other places out there. If you don't make something free, somebody else will, and the only way to charge for it is if you have something truly unique that people value.

The Wall Street Journal makes good money off its Web site because it has unique stuff - if not the front page then the, you know, metal commodities trading or whatever it is you're particularly interested in.

I think we're seeing the games industry, which a lot of people think is trivial but is actually the most exciting laboratory of free in the world right now, is one that we've switched from, you know, buying a box in a store for $50, which for - you know, an Xbox game or a PlayStation game - and as it moved online, first in Korea and then in China, it went to a different model.

It went to free to play and then converts some fraction, and the same thing with the iPhone, the iPhone apps. As you know, right now we're seeing the iPhone apps come in two forms, typically a game. There will be the free and paid form. Nothing particularly new about this, but this is becoming - it's now on a global scale.

Because we have the Internet's ability to distribute things for free across the world at no additional price, that has allowed us to take these kind of small, free-sample forms and turn them into global markets based on free, that then make money off five percent or 10 percent.

GROSS: If you're just joining us, my guest is Chris Anderson. He's editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine. And his new book is about new models of giving away or selling information through the Internet, and it's called "Free: The Future of a Radical Price"

GROSS: Let's talk about the Google model. Now Google, as you point out, has like 100 different things that they're offering now, and the parts of Google I've used anyways are all free. You pointed out before that they're still using an advertising model, but they really developed a very sophisticated, mathematically complex system of matching advertisers and users. Would you talk a little bit about the model that Google helped create for advertising?

Mr. ANDERSON: Yeah, the old model of advertising - and that's the world I'm in with Wired and, and I work for Conde Nast, and so we're a big magazine publisher, Vanity Fair, Vogue, etcetera - that model is based on the notion of we get you a big audience. We use our content and our brand to acquire a big audience, and then we sell that audience to advertisers. And you know, the old way of doing it was with - you know, and still in print and in broadcast, is you'll have a print ad next to content, or you'll have a television ad before content.

Once we went online, we then pretty much applied the old model. Those print ads became banner ads. You know, sometimes we would force people to watch ads before they could see the content. And that was the traditional way, and it worked okay.

What Google found was a way to solve the big problem with advertising. The big problem with advertising is that you waste most people's time. So if you're watching a, you know, an ad for dentures on the Super Bowl, you know, one could assume that 90 percent of the people or more don't really want that ad. It's not appropriate to them, and it's wasting their time, and they're slightly annoyed by it, but that was the price you had to pay to reach such a huge audience.

Now we go online. We have an infinite amount of content and infinite amount of advertising, and if you could just match the right ad with the right content, then it wouldn't be wasting people's time. They wouldn't consider it, you know, an irritation or an interruption. Instead, it would be relevant, and they might even consider it content.

And what Google was able to do by having the entire Web in its servers and by having, you know, millions of advertisers and ads that could be targeted to, you know, just through words, you know - but a computer can change words. You don't need, you know, an advertising company to create a new campaign for every keyword. They were able to get this perfect supply-demand matching and take advertising from an irritation into an asset and not only that, but directly measurable so people only paid when consumers clicked, and that was the first new advertising model we've seen in decades and explains much of Google's success, and what subsidizes all of their other work for free.

GROSS: So do you have any idea of how well advertisers are doing who advertise on Google with this new formula that they're applying of matching ads and content?

Mr. ANDERSON: You know, what we're finding is - you know, if you're actually trying to sell one specific thing, you know, if you have a particular kind of, you know, lawn fertilizer, and you know, it's very easy to target the right people who are just ready, you know, either in search, where they've expressed an interest - what John Battelle calls the database of intentions - they've expressed an interest in fertilizing their lawn, and pop, up comes this lawn fertilizer. That, you know, they'll click on that, and that's effective. Or they'll go to some site that's all about fertilizing lawns - and you'd be amazed by how many sites there are out there where people share pictures of their lawns, and people love their lawns - and there, too, it's relevant, and they click on that. And, you know, for something - when you're trying to sell something specifically, that's really effective.

What's harder is when you're just trying to insert, you know, a positive association with a brand into people's head, you know, the sort of drink Coke, you know, situation.

We haven't quite figured out how to do that online, and this is why YouTube is not yet a financial success and why banners continue to be sort of ignored, and you know, why we have not yet taken the advertising model that we've seen on television and moved it entirely online. And that's a problem I think we'll probably solve over the next few years, but that's the next big wave. And for those kind of advertisers, brand advertisers, that is, that remains an unsolved problem today.

GROSS: Let's get to YouTube. What kind of trouble has YouTube been having in its economic model and actually getting advertisers to advertise on their site so that they can make money?

Mr. ANDERSON: Well, you know, the beauty of YouTube is that it's YouTube. It's not, you know a-guy-in-suit-tube. It's not Madison-Avenue-tube. It is, by and large, user-generated and user-created content, which is by definition unpredictable. And it's very hard to figure out what ad is appropriate to run against a YouTube video.

So I'm watching - you know, if I'm watching my favorite soldering tutorials, and yes they are - they're thrilling to me and thrilling to no one else, but you know, that's the beauty of YouTube. Or if you're watching skateboarding videos or, you know, the canonical cat on a - you know, cat tricks, what's the right ad to put against that?

Is it - does that reflect who people are? Does it reflect what they're interested in in that moment? You know, does it cast, or does it sort of show the brand in a good light? We have not figured out how to generate video ads on the same scale as text ads.

Let's say that there are, you know, there are 10,000 different kinds of genres on YouTube, and you wanted to customize your, you know, your McDonald's ads appropriately for each one, how would you do that? How would you make that many videos? How would you have any way of knowing whether it sort of, you know, meshed with the content or just looked incredibly inappropriate? And until we figure that out, I think advertisers are rightly worried that it's going to cast the brand in the wrong light. And as a result, YouTube is, by and large, you know, not effectively - not an effective advertising platform and doesn't make money for Google.

GROSS: You know, you're talking about how the old model of advertising hasn't really worked on the Web, where you just kind of put ads or banner ads on the site. There's a lot of video sites now where, before you watch the video that you want to see, you watch the mandatory ad, and it's maybe 20 seconds or something, but it's a video ad. And you have to watch it before you get in the door to see the video that you've come to see. What kind of feedback are you getting on those kinds of mandatory-viewing ads?

Mr. ANDERSON: Well, this is the big question. You know, what does the Google generation want for their content? You know, the old model was they watched the ads because they had no choice. Then they had TiVo, and they could fast-forward through the ads, but they still had to actively do so.

Now for the first time, they can just go elsewhere. You know, there's an infinite amount of videos out there, and we're about to test the patience of the generation that's growing up in the YouTube age. Clearly 30 seconds is too long. And the question is: Is 15 seconds too long? How about seven seconds? You know, if the ad comes at the end, will people watch that? Will they stick around for that? How about if the ad came, you know, as a bar underneath? And you know, every possible experiment with video ads online is going to be done over the next few years.

This is the big experiment. The big test of, you know, this wave of the Internet is okay, Google has shown that it's an effective advertising vehicle. YouTube has shown that it's an effective content vehicle. You know, the consumers want this, the audience is flocking to it. You know, check, that's the first test in a media model.

The next test is: Is this actually competition for television? You know, can advertisers find a way to do this? And I think what they're going to end up having to do is to invent a new kind of advertisement, not just a television ad repurposed online, not just a print ad repurposed into a banner but something new, interactive, engaging, fun. It's going to be hard work, and that's why we haven't seen it yet, it's because this always happens.

With every new medium, you start by copying, you know, the old one. So television was, you know, radio with pictures. And the original Web was just, you know, print, you know, online. So I think this is early days yet, and in the next decade, I'm sure that we'll figure it out because, you know, advertising always goes where the audience is, and the audience has already made their move.

GROSS: My guest is Chris Anderson, and his new book is called "Free: The Future of a Radical Price," and it's about the new model of free on the Internet. Let's take a short break here, and then we'll talk some more.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: If you're just joining us, my guest is Chris Anderson. He's editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and author of a new book called "Free: The Future of a Radical Price," and it's all about the model of giving away things for free on the Internet and more-nuanced versions of that model and how those models are doing.

In your book "Free," you mention that Craigslist, which has all these free classified ads, has helped either put out of business or diminish the size of a lot of newspapers that rely on classified ads for revenue. But Craigslist itself, you point out in your book, generates just enough profit to pay the server costs and the salaries of a few-dozen staff.

And so the paradox here to me is that you have all these, like, local papers that are struggling, in part because of things like Craigslist, but Craigslist itself, it seems in some ways utopian to have this kind of free listing, but at the same time, it's so centralized. It's like a group of 12 people, as opposed to this network of newspapers around the country.

Mr. ANDERSON: Yeah, Craigslist is fascinating. I think the fact that their little icon is a peace symbol should tell you a lot. I mean, I think what you're seeing with Craigslist is, you know, some unambiguous goods and some things that are really worrying, and you point out a few of them.

You know, one of the myths is that they, quote-unquote, you know, "demonetized" the newspaper classified business without - you know, they traded pennies for dollars. So where did that money go? Where did that value go? And the answer is it kind of went to all of us. We all saved, you know, a few bucks when we posted our classified ads, and perhaps we got a slightly higher price or a quicker sale because of the volume of people that go through Craigslist.

So we all - what we saw was a kind of - it wasn't a transfer of wealth from newspapers to Craigslist. It was a transfer of wealth from newspapers to all of us in ways that are really hard to measure, but I think most people who use Craigslist think it is kind of an unambiguous good. But the social cost of what happened to the journalism and to those institutions that, you know, once did a pretty good job of covering the news have not yet been recorded. These are the - this is the price that will someday be paid, and we're trying to figure out, you know, is that a net positive or a net negative?

And then you had the fact that Craigslist is, itself, a very centralized organization with sort of a 1990s-style Web site and some pretty, you know, limited, you know, sense of what people can do with it.

Craigslist is not as open as, for example, Twitter is. And you know, one could sort of see that irony in the fact that Craigslist, the premium on openness and egalitarianism has also created a very controlled and almost monopolistic, you know, marketplace over what used to be the classified ads business.

GROSS: Getting back to media, do you want journalism to be the job of amateurs? With, you know, with all due respect, amateurs aren't going to go to - I mean, who's going to go to Iraq to cover the wars? And so many newspapers have shut down their foreign bureaus. There are so few reporters now, you know, covering the war in Afghanistan, covering what's going on now in Iraq now that we've withdrawn our forces, you know, from the cities. Covering local city halls there's fewer reporters, and you know, I personally think that's a real problem, and I think a lot of people do, too, but it's hard to tell what to do about it.

Mr. ANDERSON: Well, this is my business. You know, this is what we experience every day, as well. I pay, you know, writers $3 a word sometimes, and we're competing with people who write for free.

I think what's going to happen is it's going to be a hybrid. I think that, you know, that professional journalists are going to continue to cover the things that require the real depth and engagement and the hard stuff: the Iraqs, the investigative reporting, I mean, much political reporting.

The problem with journalism, we're now realizing, was not that we didn't do a good job. It wasn't an error of commission, as they say, it was the error of omission. There were so many things we didn't cover because there weren't enough of us. And you couldn't make money from covering, you know, the local soccer teams.

I think what we're going to find is that the amateurs and the professionals are going to find their relative place. You're going to have a hybrid world where amateurs cover, you know, the narrow, the niche, the subject they know really well, their own world, their own profession, their own passions. And the professionals cover the things that we do best, where the long form, the narrative, the investigative, the, you know, the embedded, all those things that we as institutions can pay for, you know, continue to stand out.

You know, what's clear is that all of our jobs is to add value to the Internet one way or another. We need to do something the Internet can't do for itself. We used to do it all.

You know, if it wasn't in the paper, it just wasn't news. Now there's lots of people. You know, news is what matters to you and that you talk about and pass along. Sometimes that's national, international, political, and sometimes that's local. And the question is, can the amateurs do the fine-grained, the narrow-gauge news, driven by their own passions, whereas we professionals do the broader, the mass, the more global, and in some sense, it's harder news. And we get paid for it, while they do it for free.

GROSS: Chris Anderson will be back in the second half of the show. He's the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and author of the new book "Free." I'm Terry Gross, and this is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross back with Chris Anderson, the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine. His new book, "Free," looks at the paradoxical business model that's developed on the Internet, making money by giving away content or services.

Let's look at your model at Wired. You've been thinking so much about the impact of the Internet and the free economy on newspapers and magazines. How do you feel you've been most affected at Wired, which you've been editor-in-chief at since - is it 2001?

Mr. ANDERSON: Yeah. Yeah. So you know, we're right in the middle of this. The ironies of my life abound. You know, my last book was about the sort of, you know, the end of the monopoly of the blockbuster and the rise of the niche, and you know, I work for Conde Nast, one of the biggest publishers in America, and my book is published by Disney. You know, by night I'm all about the, you know, the little guy and the long tail and the incredible narrowness of consumer tension, and by day I do mass media and - you know, the traditional way.

With the magazine and the Web site, what we found is that, you know, the first thing - just take the magazine. What is the role of a magazine in this age? And you know, people ask me all the time, is print dead? And what we're now starting to get better at is sort of realizing that there's no one kind of print. There's newspapers, there's weeklies, there's monthlies, there's trade magazines, there's general interest ones, and then there's books on the far end. Some forms of print are clearly dead. You know, it is very hard to imagine the traditional, you know, city newspaper remaining as it is, you know, forever more.

Many will go bust over the next year to two. Other forms of print, like the physical book, seem alive and well, despite the fact that there are Kindles and eBooks. There's - seems like the physical book, you know, it's sitting on your shelf, being able to flip through it, to give as a gift, that still seems to have value in the Internet age. Whereas, you know, yesterday's news, you know, printed on newsprint, you know, we're seeing a generation say I'd rather see it online 18 hours earlier without leaving ink on the fingers. As a monthly magazine we, you know, we wrestle with this.

What are we doing that the internet can't do? And we happen to be in a special class where we have 8,000 word long-form stories and photography and design and we package this all up together in something that doesn't really work well online. But if you were to invent a device tomorrow that allows us to package ideas with the same, you know, combination of visual and photographic and design and narrative, and distribute it electronically, we will stop killing trees overnight. Now, that device doesn't exist yet, but it will.

GROSS: You tell a really interesting story in your book, and this relates to advertising, about a friend from Google who visited you at Wired magazine, and you were talking about that impermeable wall between advertising and editorial at your magazine. And this is something that's cherished as one of the most important values in print journalism, and in broadcasting too, that impermeable wall between advertising and editorial, so that whoever's advertising isn't affecting what you write about, what you put on the air, or what you have to say about it. And your friend from Google was kind of astonished. Would you tell the story?

Mr. ANDERSON: Yeah. You know, the church and the state divide, you know, the Chinese Wall between ads and that is so sacred to traditional journalism. We keep ads apart. So we don't put the Ford ad next to the cars. We don't put the Sony ad next to the review of the Sony gadgets, and we keep them - on the wall we show, how do we keep them, you know, seven pages apart or on the other side of the magazine. And my friend from Google just sat there with his jaw on the floor. He says, you're joking. You realize, of course, we do just the opposite. We put the Sony ad right next to the Sony review. We put the Ford ad next to the Ford review. That's called relevance. That's what people want. And you know, there's one - there's only two ways to look at this.

Either, you know, there's been a change in people's perceptions of trust in media and that they don't - they decided they trust software algorithms more than people. Or possibly we were wrong all along, that people did want their ads next to their content and that this Chinese wall - this church and the state thing that we set up - was largely to reassure ourselves that we weren't being corrupted rather than satisfy marketplace demand.

GROSS: Though I should say for most places that church and state wall is in the office, and I mean - I guess what I mean by that is in the auto section of the newspaper you're going to see car ads and in the entertainment section you're going to be seeing ads for movies. So you know...

Mr. ANDERSON: Yeah...

GROSS: ...traditionally there has been the connection between where ads are and the content.

Mr. ANDERSON: The general rule has been you don't put them right next to each other, for fear that people will think that the ad influenced the content.

GROSS: Mm-hmm.

Mr. ANDERSON: And I think what happens with, you know, online is that because -and again, I think, you know, it's going to take a decade to figure out whether this is true or not, but it may be that because software is putting the ad next to the content, there's not the same assumption that somebody has been corrupted, that the content has been affected by that software decision to put the ad there. I think it's yet another of those paradoxes that challenge our assumptions about media, about trust, about how people feel about the content they read, and about why they trust what they read. And I suspect we're going to be rethinking everything in the next few decades, and a lot of the old rules are going to be thrown right out the window.

GROSS: I feel like I should ask you this. You've explained it already, but not all of our listeners have heard it. There were articles about how, you know, accusing you of plagiarism of taking things nearly word for word from Wikipedia and using it in your book. You've explained it in print. But I'm going to ask you for a very brief explanation now so our listeners who didn't read your explanation can hear it.

Mr. ANDERSON: Sure. You know, there's a big controversy over whether Wikipedia should be cited and how it should be cited. And I actually believe that it should be used in books. And you know, the question is how to cite it? And late in the day the I objected to the usual form of citing URLs with timestamps and all that stuff and petulantly remove my notes and then did a very, very bad job of reintegrating it, all in the 11th hour into the text itself. So you know, I think it's that's sloppiness, and we fixed that in the digital editions and in the next printing.

But the big question is, you know, how should Wikipedia be integrated into scholarship, into writing, going forward? And you know, I think that's an unsolved question because the Wikipedia entries change and the authorship is diffuse. But I do think we should find a way and I do believe in citing Wikipedia, you know, well and often in recognizing how much, you know, scholarship and thought you can actually find there as long as you check the sources.

GROSS: I want to change the subject here. In your acknowledgments you mentioned that during the period you were writing this book you had some kind of condition that was finally diagnosed as Lyme disease and then was undiagnosed as Lyme disease. First of all, are you all better now?

Mr. ANDERSON: Yeah. You know, thank you for bringing that up. This was - the last two years of my life have been really sort of colored by this. You know, Amy Tan famously had Lyme disease and she was diagnosed and was treated well. Lyme is very hard to diagnose and there are Lyme specialists who will diagnose you. Basically I had a - I was sort of falling to pieces on neurological issues, etcetera, got a Lyme's diagnosis, was treated for nearly two years, antibiotics, and then I went to the Mayo and got a full workup and they said, you know, we don't think you have it, we're not sure, you know, you've ever had it. We think you should stop taking antibiotics. And so I did, and now I'm better. But there's a lot of medicine out there which is in the gray zone. You can't detect the diseases directly. You're going off the symptoms. You get pulled into these whirlpools of, you know, online communities who feel, you know, who are shaking the fist against the medical establishment.

Then you have the medical establishment who thinks that these are, you know, that there's much bad advice being given. And I got pulled into that world and came out two years later feeling okay and much better, but you know, just genuinely confused about what happens to most people when they have a condition that doesn't fit into the usual definitions of medical establishment and how they do take matters into their own hands without getting drawn into, you know, the dark side of, you know, self treatment and, you know, misinformation.

GROSS: The Internet's a strange place when you're not feeling well, if you want to research your symptoms. You can find some sites that are incredibly helpful and others that will just scare the heck out of you, probably unnecessarily. Did you find that?

Mr. ANDERSON: This used to be called medical student syndrome. I did. You know, I think - and this is something that I'm sure everyone has experience with. When you Google your symptoms, you know, you suddenly discover that you've got it all.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: Right.

Mr. ANDERSON: And it gets worse and worse. You know, this is another one of these problems where the, you know, the explosion information and the disintermediation, sort of the lack of the trusted intermediaries - we're now getting the information raw, even though we're not really competent to analyze it ourselves. We can't read those medical articles and weigh them properly and it's going to get worse before it gets better I think.

We are, you know, as health care becomes a bigger and bigger issue and more and more of us feel somewhat underserved by the health care establishment and want to take matters into our own hands, we're going to go down the rabbit hole just as I did. And you know, hopefully, you know, there will be services that emerge that allow us to kind of come out and get the equivalent of medical advice without, you know, necessarily having a doctor in front us. But right now it's very easy to catastrophize. It's very easy to drive yourself crazy.

GROSS: Exactly the right word.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: The right word.


GROSS: Did you get a diagnosis ever?

Mr. ANDERSON: You know, it's funny, I went - no. I never did. I went into the Mayo Clinic with a diagnosis of Lyme and came out with no diagnosis at all. And you know, I actually felt better about it. They do such a kind of a thorough workup of all of you. They say, well, you know, you don't have X, Y and Z. And X, Y and Z is what I'd been obsessing over, over the last, you know, the last year, and just to have someone just take those off the table. Even though I don't have a diagnosis, basically I have neurological damage, which will be with me forever, but that's fine, I can live with that. I've always taken my health for granted, and to have, not only to be able to, you know, not know that that you'll be able to do the impossible, and you know, and rise to the occasion, but also in the back of your mind to sort of taking yourself to the dark side, to taking yourself to the very worse, and just, you know, and be asking, you know, be looking at your life insurance and things like that, it is, it is - I now have great insight and empathy for those who really are sick. And I found it - I found it was probably the most difficult thing I've struggled with. It's - you know, the Internet can take you to a very dark place.

GROSS: Yeah. Well, you really did go to the dark side, it sounds like, and I'm glad that you came back. So good luck with your health. It sounds like that's under control from hearing you correctly. And thank you so much for your explanations of some of the things going on on the Internet. Thank you very much and be well.

Mr. ANDERSON: Thank you, Terry. It's a real pleasure.

GROSS: Chris Anderson is the editor-in-chief of Wired and author of the new book, "Free."

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