The nut graf from Mathew Ingram’s piece on free content and it’s place in the media publishing world:

When it comes to things like media, your real competition isn’t the product that is better than you, but the one that is good enough to satisfy your customers — and if readers are happy to patronize media outlets that use writing they got for free, or writing they have aggregated and excerpted, there is precious little that freelance writers or any of us can do about it. Our only option, as a number of commenters at Hacker News pointed out, is to make it clear that we want better quality writing by actually paying for and/or clicking on it.

I’ve done my share of free or low-cost writing ($10-$25 per post/article) for other outlets and found it to be a satisfying experience. But he’s right in saying that the best way to support quality is to vote with your dollars. That’s true of any product or industry, but there will always be a market for “good enough” that satisfies what people are looking for at little to no cost.