David Wellington has done well for himself. He's written several popular novels that have been published in real life yet he still publishes them for free, in their entirety online.
They're worth checking out.
It's something I'm thinking of doing with my next "throw-away" nanowrimo novel using something like the Creative Commons Licensing deal. What I'm toying with doing is publishing each day's writing to a blog not only so others can read it while it's still warm from my fingers, but so I can keep track of myself and my word count and hopefully keep myself encouraged and motivated throughout.