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Help the Curve: your ideas needed. Please.

By on April 25, 2013
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I’m in the final stretch of writing The Curve, my book on how to make money when everything is going free.

The heart of the argument is that free is not something to be frightened of, or fought. There is no point in spending a lot of money on litigation and technology solutions because the biggest threat to your business is not consumers deciding they want stuff for free: it is your competitors figuring out how to give stuff away for free and still make lots of money. At that point, all the litigation and DRM in the world isn’t going to help you.

The Curve is the answer. It involves embracing the power of the Internet to reach as wide an audience as possible. Then harness the other power of the Internet, the ability to build one-to-one relationships with your customers to figure out what they want and let them spend lots of money on things they really value. In between, technology solutions like CRM, analytics and so on help you move people from the free end of the Curve to the True Fan end.

I believe that this applies to all businesses that have a consumer-facing component, from tractor making to TV and everything inbetween.It’s why content marketing is such a big thing at the moment, although most content marketers have no idea how what they are doing fits into the Curve, and so are just wasting money.

The problem is that my background is so heavily games. In the current draft of the Curve, I have 40-50 examples of businesses or artists who are doing a curve model well. Half of them are from the games industry.  I’ve got the AppStore and Bigpoint, Supercell and Nimblebit, Stronghold Kingdoms and New Star Soccer. Farmville. Echobazaar, Runescape and Natural Motion. Double Fine and FTL.

It’s too many.

I have a bunch of examples from other industries, but the games examples are overbalancing. So that is where I need your help. I need examples of businesses or creators who give great stuff away to start a relationship and then move people along the curve to being megafans. I need makers of kitchenware who have a marvellous collection of how-to guides on their website. I need a wine mercha t who helps you appreciate wine and builds a relationship with you on the way. I need examples from jewellery, from fashion, from making cars or tractors or garden sheds. I need more examples.

My deadline is in 3 weeks.

So this is my plea to you. Who is doing free-to-play right in the physical world? Who is using the power of free to find customers and start a conversation with them? Who is moving them along the demand curve until they start spending tens, hundreds, thousands of dollars on things they truly value?

Can you give me some ideas that you have experienced or seen? Send them to me at [email protected], or just write them in the comments.

I will be very grateful.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com