I used to blog for my old company, but they took the blog down. I am
not actually allowed to own the writings I put up on that blog, but as
I reference them on occasion in my writing I am putting those articles
up in my archives here for reference sake. I'll put the tag GS on those
articles noting that they were originally published on the http://schoolfinder.globalscholar.com/blog/
Do You Get What You Pay For
The rise of the Internet has lead to a rise in a lot of services that are free. It was a while ago, (I can’t remember the article) that I read an article about how these companies can offer products for free. It basically boiled down to the fact that in the electronic world making copies is so cheap that it might as well be free. So giving away a copy for free is fine and you make your money back on volume somewhere else.
Now I’m not an economist, but even I can see that could work fine if the product you create doesn’t include upgrades or service. However the need to have a revenue stream is very important as well explained in this blog.
There are some well founded worries by schools about whether getting these services for free is really the best idea. I think Bud Hunt does a good job of explaining some of his thoughts on this in his podcast here.
If a school wants to move into the 21st Century it requires a lot of money and technical support. As schools usually don’t have a lot of money it often means individual teachers collaborating together to use these free services. As Joseph Thibault mentions in his comment on Bud’s blog some of these free service companies take service and features very seriously. On the other hand even the biggest companies can shut down services that schools use.
GlobalScholar is a company that specifically targets the niche market of education. We are specifically making money by providing services to schools. By paying for the services schools shouldn’t need to worry about security of data, downtime, asking for extras, etc.. They can also expect the service to work seamlessly. I know there are open source and free products that do similar tasks that our product does, but
I know some teachers and administrators will like using free, software because of budget concerns or they would like to try before buying, or just a few teachers need the services.
There will always be some who like Open Source because they prefer to tinker with the engine themselves and it is also free.
Others will prefer the services of a company like GlobalScholar because they can save frustrations and maybe some money on technological services. Or perhaps they just free up the technology people to actually help in the classrooms.