Marketing with free product seems like an accepted basis for marketing software today. So I am continually surprised to find that the model is poorly understood, and often implemented in such a way as to handicap it almost completely. That these compromised schemes actually succeed at times, is a testimony to how good the model really is, and the quality of the products that succeed.
The Internet is maturing into a whole channel. That means it is acquiring all the trappings of a channel, with multiple tiers, gatekeepers, storefronts, push and pull marketing, brand building and category domination. In effect, you have to approach the Internet no longer as a derivative channel - that assists other channels - but as its own environment, with what we call Whole Internet Marketing.
As long as marketing could be done using well-established methods and distribution channels, it sometimes seemed as though all you had to do was aim a product right, and it would find its home among the audience. With the advent of interactive marketing, that idea is truly being put to rest. It is now no longer enough to push out something using a design and a message. You must do more. You must engage the potential buyer in an ongoing dialogue. That's interactive marketing.