This is related to a discussion in the hot takes
thread. I thought some of you might find my current opinion on free fonts interesting considering my notoriety in the free font realm.
I'm no longer producing new free typefaces and am not including free styles in my new families. I used to use free fonts as a marketing tool. They got attention from young designers or designers without font budgets. Some of that resulted in future sales of non-free fonts and embedding licenses. I don't regret doing that and it worked out great for me. I understand how many of you think this practice was degrading the marketplace and I'm certain it did. There were some good and bad aspects to it. On one hand, it allowed more typeface choices for people who couldn't purchase fonts. On the other hand, it made pay fonts seem less appealing. I understand and accept the disdain they got from established typeface designers in the last quarter century, but that's not why I've stopped.
Free fonts are no longer an effective marketing tool. Most free font releases are ignored. I often see free font releases on Twitter getting almost no retweets. On Reddit, free font announcements receive little response. Distributors have been transitioning away from free fonts. MyFonts went from embracing free fonts in the 2000s to banning unaccompanied free fonts in the 2010s to penalizing visibility of typeface containing free styles in the 2020s. Creative Market doesn't allow free fonts outside of promotions. Fonts.com and FontSpring still allow unaccompanied free fonts but that may not last long. I doubt the younger generation is using Dafont/1001fonts as much as previous generations did. Google has their own free font ecosystem which I refuse to get involved in so I can't speak to whether that scene is worthwhile.
There's a "personal use" free fonts scene that I dislike but maybe someone can tell us why this is a viable tactic or not.
In terms of using free fonts as a marketing tool, apart from closed ecosystems, I'm declaring the free fonts scene dead.