When it comes to free, we have to mention Zhou Hongyi and his company 360. Zhou Hongyi is one of the few publicly discussed and high-profile "free" entrepreneurs in China. In fact, "free" is not completely free. If he really wants to be free, he must be a charity organization rather than an entrepreneur. The core of "free" is to attract users through free services, and enterprises use this free service to obtain profits from third parties.
Will this free service be recognized? 360.cn's listing on NASDAQ is a final answer, which is not only recognized by this model, but also greatly recognized by the capital market.
What does 360 have? According to the PPT of the road show before listing, there are three points: first, it is the largest Internet security manufacturer in China, and second, it is the second largest Internet security manufacturer in China browser Provider, again, it is the third largest Internet company in China (calculated by the number of active users).
But I think these things are for investors. There are too many companies with huge users but not making much money, such as Microsoft MSN has the second largest IM market in China, but its ability to make money is much weaker. In addition, Ruixing, the former largest security manufacturer in China, is now on the verge of enterprise collapse. How does 360 make money for free? The reason is very simple. The core of making money for free is only two words - "entrance".
If you turn something free into an "entrance", you will gain a lot. 360 has two very important products. One is the browser launched by 360 Security Guard. The browser's default URL navigation has become the "entrance" to the Internet for all; The other is the 360 desktop recently launched by 360, which has become the "portal" of user's native application software.
Let's talk about browser software first, and now the network shopping Very popular, online merchants need a large amount of high-quality Internet traffic to pull users to their websites, and the "entrance" value of navigation stations is reflected. After calculation, it is found that the website is the best place for advertising in the Internet circle, then the search engine, and finally the advertising space of the portal. For advertising positions on 360 navigation, the price of each position (only 3-5 words) was 100000 yuan per month a year ago, and it rose to 1 million yuan at the end of last year; In recent months, due to the strong demand, 360 has started a new business model - "bidding", which is also a secret bidding. It is said that the highest price has exceeded 2 million yuan. In addition to the shopping guide location for online shopping, there are online games and group purchases on 360 navigation, which are search locations. These have become the source of 360's money.
As for "360 Desktop", 360 Desktop is a software with simple technology but excellent creativity and Internet users' positioning. Its role is to help users quickly open the places they want to go, including all websites and all kinds of software. This concept is absolutely creative and "high-yield". After the user base of this software becomes larger, all Internet enterprises need to buy "toll" from 360. The foundation of each website is traffic, and it is necessary to buy it from 360 because there are a large number of users and competitors are buying it. Not only websites need to buy portals here, but also a large number of Internet software companies need to buy portals here. 360 Desktop provides a very convenient environment for users to click, and the software is downloaded from the Internet and downloaded to the user's machine. According to the current situation of the Internet, a channel fee of 1 yuan will be charged for each software installed in the user's machine, and 360 will earn more in the future.
"Free" becomes "entrance", "entrance" becomes "cash", which is the secret of making money for free. There are many enterprises making money like this in China. In addition to 360, Baidu and Tencent are actually doing the entrance, including Sina, which is very popular now micro-blog The reason why Sina's share price has risen from US $30 to US $140 within one year since the launch of Weibo is also because Weibo has become the "portal" for netizens.