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By Robin Neidorf


Labels like "free" and "fee" suggest firm boundaries between types of information, when the reality is quite a bit more fluid. In this FreePint Newsletter editorial, Director of Research Robin Neidorf comments on the latest data from our annual Survey on News Needs and Preferences, along with recent additions to our collection of Articles and Reports that cover a continuum of value-exchange.


I tend think of categories of information as firm and fixed, when the reality is that there's a lot of fluidity in the definitions. Take the concepts of "free" and "fee", which are a centrepiece of FreePint's annual Survey on News Needs and Preferences. Are these types of content "free" or "fee" from a user's perspective? From the content buyer's? From the publisher's?:

  • Web versions of print products
  • Ad-supported web sites or newsletters
  • Social media content - unprocessed
  • Social media content - filtered through a premium tool
  • Content requiring registration but not financial exchange to access

The continuum from "free" to "fee" includes all these models and more, and speaks to the many ways we pay for information. A recent Feature story examines more closely the tension between free and fee in news content.

Participate in this survey, to add your perspective on how your organisation addresses the need for business news, and you'll get a copy of the final report (yet another way to "pay" for useful information). Complete the survey now >>

Information along a continuum shows up in other ways, in this issue of the FreePint Newsletter. Interactions and content generated through social media are highlighted through commentary on the impact of "likes" and endorsements as well as a discussion of professional uses of current darling Pinterest. Are these "hard" information or "soft" information? 

Recent product reviews include a full review of BvD's Mint and a mini-review of InfoMonitor from InfoDesk -- both clearly premium, for-fee products that pull together otherwise hard (or impossible) to get information and make it quickly actionable. But Barbara Fullerton, in her editorial for the FreePint Report: Private Company Information, notes that lots of valid information may be hidden in plain sight, through no-cost resources that take more ingenuity than money to mine.

Lots to think about and continue to learn. Make FreePint part of your learning (even at a distance).


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Robin has been working with FreePint since 2004, and, since joining full time in 2006, is responsible for strategic planning, product development, relationship management, research and communications. She currently heads the FreePint Research division.

Robin Neidorf ran a research and communications consulting business for 10 years, prior to joining Free Pint Limited. As a consultant, she focused on strategic planning, using information to make better decisions, and creating effective audience-focused communications across different media.

Robin has worked with a wide range of organisations in the for-profit and non-profit sector. She has developed online communities, publications and distance learning modules for a range of business purposes. She is the author of Teach Beyond Your Reach: An instructor's guide to developing and running successful distance learning classes, workshops, training sessions and more (second edition, Cyber Age, 2012) and the co-author of E-Merchant: Retail Strategies for e-Commerce (Addison-Wesley, 2001).

Robin can be reached at

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Technology: Improving information work with technology
Value: Maximising value for information work and investment
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