I am in the process of figuring out what business plan would be most appropriate for my online service. Essentially, the questions I'm asking myself are:
Can internet companies survive on providing a service completely free and making money from the information they collect about their users?
If so, what information do they need, and how can they exploit it?
The examples I found where Facebook and Gmail. Facebook collects information about the social graph of their users which helps them deliver targeted advertising. Gmail collects information about the conversational content of their users to also deliver targeted advertising.
Are there other examples out there?