Amazon, eBay and Google have been the online behemoths of the decade, they have blown existing businesses to bits and had a deflationary effect on economies around the globe, they have caused untold job losses and it is hard to overstate their impact on all of our everyday lives.

We have railed for some time regarding the ‘cost of free’, but yet the effects of this phenomenon have fallen on deaf ears as far as the regulators are concerned. As a consequence of this we have seen social dislocation on a scale not seen before and this WILL continue.

I have been, and continue to be, pro internet and I am not preaching protectionism, but we need to understand that the longer term impact is far more pervasive than the bulk of people can absorb. Change is hard to face and often we are guilty of sticking our heads in the sand and taking the ostrich approach, and hoping the problems will just go away, but they won't and the rule makers need to face the facts and put in place fast lanes for job creation, then let the private sector take over.

The future of your children's jobs and careers depend on it. If we don't get more creative regarding the future of work, we will all drown in a sea of anger and discontent.

We sent out an email in January this year titled ‘The cost of free’, and the text of that email is below.

Kodak (the camera and photography company) used to employ 140,000 people; today Kodak is gone, bankrupt, the younger generation don’t ever remember them.

Instagram (an online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos) has over a 100 million people that use it every month. The business was sold to Facebook in 2012, it fetched around a billion dollars and at the time had 13 employees.

The company probably didn’t have employees who were much different from many of the people who used to work for Kodak.

My view is that Instagram actually had a workforce of around the number of people who use what they give away. The difference is this, those people work for the company for FREE, nothing, zippo, complimentary, costless, for the love of it, chargeless, gratis, you get the picture.

So, the value of a billion dollars arose from the number of users who contribute to the network but the problem is this, only a small number of people get paid which then segments wealth into fewer hands and limits overall economic growth.

Therefore I would argue that we have allowed ourselves to become multiple sources of uncompensated data generators. Making a few people wealthy beyond comprehension along the way.

In a nutshell this continuing hollowing of paid work has resulted in increasing unemployment numbers, and it will get worse as companies simply cannot generate revenue and pay people to work there when everything is free.

So next time you use a free service think about whether it really is free in the longer term or whether this “costless apportunity” will cost you your job and keep your children on the unemployment scrapheap.

We can’t all develop super cool apps and sell them to Google or Facebook anyway. Do yourself a long-term favour and start paying for a few things this year.

Below I have listed the global revenue over the decade of the big three.