Years ago my parents when to a concert to raise money for musicians in Sarejevo, the tickets were free. You had to donate to leave. It was brilliant, everyone there was already ready to show support and by the time they’d heard the music they were in a good and generous mood. I’ve always wondered what the ticket “price” really was. I’ve also wondered if anyone else had tried this model.
Today I read of some other cases that have; a taxi driver, a chiropractor and a law firm. It is another alternative payment structure like “freemium” – where a free model is available, but you pay a premium to get all the features.
I think it works under two conditions.
(1) when you are providing a personal service where clients and supppliers meet each other during the profession of the service, where both parties trust each other and have learnt to communicate. In other words where there’s an existing relationship.
(2) where it’s easy to compare the market price for the service, in the Concert example the attendees were all regular concert goers so knew roughly the price of a ticket. I’m currently having rather massive dental work done, it’s time consuming and complex. Although I know what a regular treatment costs I would probably underestimate the costs of this work.
I think it’s less likely to work where the service is anonymous, for example a retail relationship where it won’t be necessary to return to that supplier, or a service provided by an anonymous corporation – for example an insurer.
I’d like to be wrong, but I suspect without the relationship our own self interest will take over.
photo from arquera via flickr