I once knew a salesman who had a baseball cap emblazoned with the words “We screw the other guy, and pass the savings on to you.” Those words could easily represent a guiding principle for the Internet. Nothing, most of us realize, is really free. The goal is to get someone other than you to pay for it.
Recently, we needed an electrical outlet installed outside on our balcony. A friend recommended an electrician who looked at the job, quoted “…around $200, depending….”, but then said he was too busy to do the work and asked me to call him again in a few weeks. I had taken 3 hours off work to meet him, and had nothing to show for it. Not wanting to pay a membership fee to find someone on Angie’s List, I turned instead to Home Advisor, a “free” contractor referral service.
The first to respond to my project description (Genesis Electric – “Let There Be Light”) showed up on time and completed the job for the pre-arranged $135. He asked only one thing as he was leaving; if you were happy with my work (I was) and have additional projects, please call me directly as the web service charges me a hefty fee for each assignment they give me. If a contractor and a customer are going to get together through the Internet, one of them will pay for the privilege.