As for how things like this forum are free, well...they get money from advertisers.
think about television, there many many free channels as well.
I'm not quite sure if you agree or disagree, because although you point out that the likes of this forum is "free", because they get money from advertisers, you do not go on to make the point that it is us who pay for the advertising, (advertising costs are part of the price you pay for every product, so every timr you buy something, you go some way to supporting the advertising industry and all the things that it supports such as TV) so if you go round the whole loop, it is, in fact, we who are paying for this forum.
This is the trickiness of knowing what is going on in our world: these huge loops that transfer money from one place to another, and then to another and another and another, apparently totally unrelated place, make it possible for business to dupe people into thinking they are getting things for free etc.
Edited by pantodragon, 18 March 2013 - 03:49 PM.