Does free make the web cheap?

One more thing about everyone expecting everything on the web to be free: what if that makes web development appear cheap in the eyes of others?

There are very few web tools out there that are for-pay, and everybody expects the latest tool to be free. Also, good advice, browser research, technical tips and tricks, and introductory articles are all for free. It’s possible to become a web developer nearly for free, with your own workstation as the only real cost.

What if that makes people outside the web (say, enterprise Java) believe that web development is not worth much in a technical sense? Something like “if you don’t pay exciting sums of money for this software, how can it be good?”

I’m not saying this is a brilliant argument, but it could be that people actually think like this.

I’m also not saying that this would be a good reason to start paying for web development resources, but it could be one more unintended consequence of the web being free of charge.

Free has a huge upside: it’s free. It also has its drawbacks, and it strikes me we hardly ever think about them.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, web developer, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter or Mastodon.
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