05/31/12 — Facebook frenzy -- Bottom line is: No one is sure future generations will pay

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Facebook frenzy -- Bottom line is: No one is sure future generations will pay

The new world of technology has created a rather interesting dilemma -- how to pay for the personnel, the overhead and everything else that goes into the technology that collects the information that everyone wants to use for free.

And that really is the reason behind some of the analysts' doubts about the real value of the tech company -- and why some are wondering if they bought hype not substance.

There is the debate over the information offered the average investor about the public offering. But, really, anyone who researched the company should have known that there were questions about how it would make money.

Truth is, if you cannot monetize a profit from a site like Facebook -- and you can't come up with a revenue stream to pay the bills -- you have a fancy car with no gas.

There is a curious fact about the new generations who have grown up on technology. They do not seem to want to pay for it. And while that might seem like a rather democratic way of looking at the world -- information and technology free for everyone -- it does not deal with the realities of developing it, maintaining it and creating companies that will advance it.

In other words, nothing really is free.

So, when polled, some of these same young people say they will wait for the next "free" craze rather than support one that costs them money to participate.

And that is a sad commentary on where we are headed in the future when it comes to valuing intellectual property and what it takes to gather and organize information.

We had better be careful that we remember you get what you pay for -- and free, in this case and in others, might be the last thing we want, if we want technology and information worth reading.

The Facebook experience -- and those of other startups in the information technology arena -- might be the first dose of that reality and a warning of what's to come.

Published in Editorials on May 31, 2012 10:55 AM