I often hear this question when a reviewer is comparing two Web services is “why should I pay for service X, when service Y does the same thing for free?” Answer: because the free version will probably disappear.
> Someone builds a cool, free product, it gets popular, and that popularity attracts a buyer. The new owner shuts the product down and the founders issue a glowing press release about how excited they are about synergies going forward. They are never heard from again…
> …If every additional user is putting money in the developers’ pockets, then you’re less likely to see the site disappear overnight. If every new user is costing the developers money, and the site is really taking off, then get ready to read about those synergies.
Now, of course Pinboard is a for-pay bookmarking service that I’ve passed over for a free one, but the point stands. Also, I’m a capitalist. And also there’s this:
> “The Laborer deserves his wages.” -Jesus (Luke 10:7)
Note: I do not believe this principle applies to ministries charging for their ministry content. Rather, Jesus’ point (later articulated by Paul) is that those who’s life is the proclamation of the Gospel, ought to be supported by those who receive it from them, but only freely as they decide in their own heart, not under compulsion. That is, the minister shouldn’t charge a fee for the service. The recipient ought to gladly and freely give support to the minister.