Are you referring to Camels and Rubber Duckies? If so, it's important to understand that the context is "cheap" software (i.e. put it on your credit card / charge account):
Bad Idea #2: How Much Money Do You Have? Pricing.
This is the kind used by software
startups founded by ex-Oracle salesmen
where the price isn't on the website
anywhere. No matter how much you
search to find the price, all you get
is a form to provide your name,
address, phone number, and fax number,
for some reason, not that they're ever
going to fax you anything.
It's pretty obvious here that the plan
is to have a salesman call you up and
figure out how much you're worth, and
then charge you that much. Perfect
This doesn't work so good either.
First of all, the low end buyers are
just going to move on. They will
assume that if the price isn't listed,
they can't afford it. Second, the
people who don't like salesmen
harassing them will just move on.
Worse, as soon as you send a message
that your price is negotiable, you're
going to end up reverse segmenting.
Here's why: the big companies you sell
to, the ones who should be willing to
give you the most money, are
incredibly sophisticated about
purchasing. They'll notice that your
sales guy or gal is working on
commission, and they'll know that he's
got quarterly quotas, and they'll know
that both the salesperson and the
company are going to be incredibly
desperate to make a sale at the end of
the quarter (the salesperson to get
his commission, and the company to
avoid getting their knees shot off by
their VCs or Wall Street). So the big
customers will always wait until the
last day in the quarter and end up
getting a ridiculously good price
which somehow involves weird
accounting shenanigans so the company
can book a lot of revenue that they're
never really going to get.
Advertising (here and elswhere) works differently from "retail" software: there are no fixed rates and the prices vary. Why? Because it's more fair that way.
If you spend a million-jillion dollars a year on advertising and pay up front, should you get the same rate as the guy who's got pocket change and says "I'll pay you this... 30 days after you run my ads, I promise!" What about all the other factors, too, such as demand, targeting, etc?
Different people have different needs, and this is why prices aren't listed (both here and wherever else you see a "give us a call!" sort of thing). If you're actually serious about whatever you're doing "light research" for, a few minute phone call is small cost to pay. And if you're not serious... there are probably better hobbies out there.