When I came across ki work a few months ago it was the first question that came into my head. Are they after my money? I'm not used to paying for stuff on line, in fact I'd like to think I've become something of an expert at finding free internet software and services. And I don't mean stealing. Sometimes that's meant, as my mother used to say, I've been a long way for a short cut.
Somebody, somewhere has to pay for everything that's supposedly free on the web. Even people who are giving away the fruits of their labor online are at least receiving pleasure from impressing others with their prowess. By the way there's nothing wrong with wanting to see your name in lights or whatever the equivalent is for programmers.
No-cost web services
More often the motives of those behind 'free' services are a little more commercial. It may be that they're just trying to build an audience with the hope that sometime in the future they'll be able to profit from them. This is a bit of a risky strategy. People generally aren't happy to start paying for something they've been receiving for free.
Payment doesn't have to mean direct charging. Even the use of advertising will alienate many customers when it's introduced. Certainly I know that given the choice I'd pick a service that didn't have advertising although that doesn't necessarily mean I'd be willing to pay from my own pocket. That would depend on how much I valued the service and how obtrusive the ads were.
Free isn't always cheap
And there is another alternative, which is where ki work comes in. The basic idea is that some people pay for an enhanced service while the majority invest their time rather than their cash. It's a fairly popular model for web services which avoids reliance on annoying adverts.
Fortunately I have nothing to do with the financing of ki work. I'm just the blogger. But I do understand some of the general principles of web economics. In general this means the fixed costs of running an online service are proportionately quite high while the variable costs are relatively low. In other words, if you create a website the expensive part is the design and content. Hosting is fairly cheap. It doesn't cost any more to have 500 visitors than five. It does make a difference if you get 500,000 though.
Many Software as a Service (SaaS) businesses use this model. Individual customers aren't charged in the hope that they'll recommend and popularize the product so businesses will pay to use it. It's a very cost-effective way of promoting a service.
More for your money
At ki work the majority of users won't need to pay anything for the service. They'll be professionals displaying their credentials in the form of service offers and getting work that way. It's a good and risk-free way of using ki work. Some ki workers will want a bit more prominence and the opportunity to share in income. They can pay $50 a month for 'Expert' status if they want to earn more from building teams for large projects. Or for $200 a month they can become 'Category Leaders' and earn even more from co-ordinating an entire marketplace.
The basic idea is that ki workers are rewarded according to their investment in time and money. Check the ki work site for full details. The main point to note is that this isn't any sort of network selling or pyramid scheme. You can earn money for completing projects whether or not you've paid anything to ki work.
If you do decide to pay it is worth getting in early and grabbing some prime real estate as an expert or category leader. Hundreds of people are joining daily and as ki work grows the highest-earning positions will be taken and that includes ones in your area of expertise.
So, do I have a definitive answer to the question: Why pay for anything on the internet? Of course I don't. But I do know that in virtual or real life you generally get more out of something the more you put in. And that could be time or money.