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As we covered last week, free services I Want Sandy and Stikkit are closing shortly, joining a growing list of Web 2.0 free-to-consumer startups that have shuttered their sites. It’s not just the little guys that are going out of business, either: Google Lively is set to become the latest failed experiment from the search behemoth later this year.
While just a few data points don’t make up a trend, it does seem likely that we haven’t seen the last closures. Services start up in a burst of optimism, then hit the cold hard wall of needing to pay for servers and bandwidth. The tightening of venture capital and the decline of online advertising have been covered elsewhere: other factors that will make it tough for free eternal-beta Web 2.0 startups to stay in business. But how is the savvy web worker to cope?
It’s clear that “free” doesn’t actually mean “free” when you put it into a larger context of web work.
(Via Greg Lloyd)