What is "Free"?

What is “free”? “Free” is, “not imprisoned or enslaved.” “Free” is, “unconstrained.” “Free” is, “unobstructed, without blockages.” “Free” is, “without obligations.” “Free” is, “obtainable without payment” (Wiktionary). For the purpose of this monologue, “free” is something one receives without returning payment of some form.


What is “free”? “Free” is, MacMerc.com. “MacMerc.com is a one stop shop for Pro Mac users. We have editorials, tutorials, forums, news and a whole lot more!” MacMerc provides all of that for free. Yes, we have banner ads, and we have donation buttons. But, we also have over 10,000 RSS subscribers, and far more unique visitors each day. How many of those do you think actually click on the banner ads or send in donations? The answer is, barely enough to pay the hosting bills every month. In fact, some sub-humans even have the sheer audacity to threaten to defame us, or unsubscribe for adding just one more banner ad. Where do you think the money comes from?! Do you think that Steve Jobs donates our hosting? Heck no! Steve Jobs wouldn’t donate to a third-party Mac site if his career depended on it. And, do you know what the sad thing is? His career does depend on third-party Mac sites! MacMerc is something that I believe in. As such, I try to contribute in any way that I can. I used to write quite a few articles for MacMerc, but lately, I’ve been distracted. But, I have not stopped contributing. If I feel like my monthly output has fallen short of expectations, I will donate as much money as I can spare at the end of the month. Right now, MacMerc is asking for voluntary monthly subscription payments of $1 per month. Yes, that’s only $1 per month. Trust me, it goes a long way. And, no, you don’t have to send money to contribute. If you can, post a link, or at the very least, open a new thread in our forums and say, “thank you.” Believe me, sometimes “thank you” is worth more than any donation.

What is “free”? “Free” is, the help provided via the WordPress Support Forums. The WordPress Support Forums are filled with volunteers; there are no paid members. The WordPress developers may receive revenue from the ads on the forums, but the forum volunteers see none of that in return. In fact, we hardly see anything in return. We are volunteers, giving up our spare time to help you. And, that’s time that we could have spent with our families, or time that we could have spent working for real money. A Google search of the support forums for macmanx returns 9,160 results. Out of those results, you will find over 5,000 support request that I have either solved, or assisted in solving. Contrary to popular belief, I do have a donation button in my sidebar. Out of those “over 5,000” successful resolutions, how many donations do you think I have received? So far, I have received no donations. Out of those “over 5,000” successful resolutions, how many “thank you”s do you think I received? Far less than half of that number. Do we even exist? I suppose that if you want help, our existence doesn’t matter, only you and your problems exist. In fact, some sub-humans even have the sheer audacity to demand support as if they were some sort of royalty. Who do you think you are, Mr. (or Ms.) Sub-Human? You’re using free software, and now you have come to a free support forum staffed by volunteers. Take a number! Please, these volunteers work hard for you. Try to give them something in return. I would gladly pay $25 to anyone who helped me avoid weeks of trouble. In fact, you don’t have to donate $25. Contrary to popular belief, $5 does go a long way. $5 will pay half of my monthly hosting bill. And, no, you don’t have to donate anything. If you can, post a link, or at the very least, open a new thread and say, “thank you.” Believe me, sometimes “thank you” is worth more than any donation.

What is “free”? “Free” is, any application listed with my Favored Freeware list. The developers who represent these applications (including, but not limited to, application developers, plugin/script developers, and theme developers) work hard to provide for you a functional application for absolutely no cost. Do you think that developing a functional application is easy? No, it isn’t. In fact, going to all that hard work and then giving it away for free is even more difficult. I could never hope to donate to all of the projects in my list, but at least I’m linking to them and writing small reviews each week. If you can, donate a little bit to those developers for their troubles. And, no, you don’t have to donate anything. If you can, post a link, or at the very least, send them an email and say, “thank you.” Believe me, sometimes “thank you” is worth more than any donation.

Now, if you are currently enjoying a free service, send them a donation, post a link, say “thank you,” or at the very least, acknowledge their existence!

8 thoughts on “What is "Free"?

  1. I don’t think that I have an applause smily, but I do have this cute guy: :mrgreen:

    Don’t worry, I know what you mean. And thank you very for stopping by to post an applauding comment. ^_^ 8)

  2. Very true.. all very true.
    And you know who else is forgotten ? Plugin authors.
    How many thousands of blogs were helped by the work of Kitten, drDave ? How many blogs continue to be protected by the work of drDave and IOError ? I wonder if they ever made it to even 1 cent per plugin used ?

    “Thank you”
    That goes a very very long way with me. And yet sniping in the forums blows it away instantly. Seems right now there is more sniping than smiles. That’s a shame.

  3. Podz, I couldn’t agree more. That’s why I always maintain an Active Plugins page (linked to in my Footer). Thanks for stopping by to share you thoughts! ^_^ I hope we can make at least a few people think differently about the free services that they’re enjoying.

    And, Phil, thanks for the donation! We just received it. Believe it or not, $1/month really does go a long way.

Comments are closed.