Part of the answer depends upon your standards. Some years ago, when I was trying to build up my font collection, I discovered that all fonts were not created equal.
[If you're not feeling especially geeky today, it's OK to skip this history section, but do continue reading Part 2. . .]
The digital type industry was quite new at the time and everyone was an “expert.” Anyone with a few extra dollars could purchase a font creation program and “create” a font that would be readable on a personal computer running the new Macintosh or Windows operating systems. In my original introduction to my online course I mention a music teacher at Columbia University who occupied his commuting time on the train from White Plains to create fonts on his laptop using Fontographer. Some of his fonts are still available for free download today, which gives you an idea of the durability of digital font technology. While his font choices, mostly pirated and auto-traced from existing photofonts, were eye-catching, their integrity left something to be desired.
He was encouraged in his efforts by one of the new “experts” in the field, whose taste might be called into question. My opinion was that he liked the idea that visually exciting fonts were being added to the mix of new digital fonts. Up to that time, digital type tended to be on the order of the stuff you read in books and magazines. Made for legibility but not particularly flamboyant.
A discussion of this topic would involve the ability of high quality imaging devices to process digital fonts in general and these cheap fonts in particular. This was a time of developing technology and even using the high-quality professional fonts could not guarantee successful output.
A second issue for later discussion, perhaps, is how long it takes to create a font. How much does the manufacturing process cost? This is determined by the cost of your time. As with most items, the time and cost gradually goes usually down over a period years. When I first began my career, veteran designers from companies such as Linotype told me they planned on at least two years. This was because they had to design for brass matrices used to cast metal letters Very time consuming. Phototype, which is where I started in the industry, might be able to do a font in 4 to 6 months since there was no metal involved and our final product was a film negative. And even this timeline was reduced over the years.
It all changed with digital type. The months could be cut down to days if all you did was scan a printed sample and auto-trace it, which, I suppose, doesn’t say much about the resulting quality.
The bottom line, of course, is the bottom line: There are no production or distribution costs, with these new digital fonts if it's is just being downloaded.
End of historical background. You may proceed to Part 2 for some font web sites.