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More like the pay phone

The Doc Searls Weblog : Wednesday, March 5, 2003

Plenty of hotels, coffee shops, libraries, universities and whole cities are already providing free wi-fi for the same reason they provide street lights and public restrooms. None of those are free either except to the users who expect them for exactly that price.

So here's your take-away quote: Think of pay-fi as the Net's equivalent of the pay toilet.

Yeah, but I have the feeling that if Starbucks starts giving away Wi-Fi, all they're going to do is just add a quarter onto coffee prices. That money's going to come from somewhere. And in NYC at least, you don't use the restroom without making a purchase. Though Starbucks in this case might actually be the exception; I think you can duck into theirs for free.


" That money's going to come from somewhere."

I dunno... $39.95 for earthlink DSL and a one-time hit of $300 for an AirPort base station... really doesn't cost Starbucks much worth measuring, and in exchange they get a lot of walk-in business. If they add a quarter to the cost of coffee on account of wi-fi, it's a gouge job (which wouldn't surprise).

"doesn't cost Starbucks much worth measuring"...

But multiplied by HOW MANY shops...?? Thaz the same theory that says if Ya add a penny or two to each transaction, Ya can give away ONE MILLION DOLLAR prizes fer "free", flood the market with multi-million dollar ad campaigns to pay for "free" TV..

..and basically EVERYthing can be "for free"....

....if Ya jes make the added cost HIDDEN amongst a large enough number of eyeballs.

Don't much cotton to that theory, but advertising does sell people a lotta stuff. Fer example, I buy Starbucks at grocery when it's red-tagged and close enuf in price to Millstone brand which I consider of very similar quality. If the WiFi adds too much to a bag-a-joe-beans..

..then Starbucks loses a happy consumer of their product. But thaz jes me. They won't notice the hit of one individual customer.

Btw, balancing price with sales and profits is a little trickier than what geeks would like-ta imagine it is...!!


Thank You, (and You know who You are and I don't...;-), fer Yer time in reading...!