How to make money by giving it all away

On his Long Tail blog, Chris Anderson brings our attention to an interesting subset from the recently released Forbes 400 list: the members of the Billionaires Club that have earned their spot through offering services and products that are “primarily free to consumers”. The list, Anderson point out, doesn’t include media moguls whose businesses largely (but not solely) include free web and broadcast content, like Barry Diller (IAC) and Rupert Murdoch (News Corp.). Since posting the list, Anderson received some commentator feedback that called into question some of the examples (particularly Omidyar of eBay and Peter Thiel of Facebook/ Paypal), but overall the point still stands – ‘free’ can result in fortune – and a lot of it.

The list

#13 Sergey Brin $15.9 billion, Google

#14 Larry Page $15.8 billion, Google

#54 Pierre Omidyar $6.3 billion, eBay

#59 Eric Schmidt, $5.9 billion, Google

#155 Oprah Winfrey, $2.7 billion, free-to-air TV

#161 Mark Cuban, $2.6 billion, Broadcast.com

#246 Omid Kordestani, $1.9 billion, Google

#246 Joseph Mansueto, $1.9 billion, Morningstar (freemium investing services)

#281 David Filo, $1.7 billion, Yahoo

#281 Jerry Yang, $1.7 billion, Yahoo

#281 Kavitark Ram Shriram, $1.7 billion, Google

#321 Todd Wagner, $1.5 billion, Broadcast.com

#321 Mark Zuckerberg, $1.5 billion, Facebook

#377 Peter Thiel, $1.3 billion, Facebook, Paypal

from PSFK

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