The Internet’s Original Sin (Ethan Zukerman, the Atlantic)

It’s not too late to ditch the ad-based business model and build a better web. Must read.

Stuck on advertising and investor storytime: “Investor storytime is when someone pays you to tell them how rich they’ll get when you finally put ads on your site.”

“most online advertising doesn’t follow your interest; it competes for your attention. It’s a barrier you have to overcome… to get to the article or interaction you want”. Amen!

“our attention, as viewers, is worth only a penny an hour to Facebook’s advertisers”

“Targeting to intent (as Google’s search ads do) works well, while targeting to demographics, psychographics or stated interests (as Facebook does) works marginally better than not targeting at all.”

Advertising on the web downsides:

  1. Advertising implies some sort of surveillance.
  2. Generates clickbait, “but little thoughtful engagement”.
  3. Centralized, bigger companies buy start ups.
  4. Personalization creates silos.

I would add a 5th downside: companies are out of the loop of their customers’ experience, are missing out on the opportunity for their customers to achieve better results with their products, to enable customers to contribute to the overall experience, for instance by telling companies which options they’re looking for, appreciate more and would be willing to pay for.

Micropayments are part of the solution; web solutions are now within the grasp of companies to engage their customers directly, ditching ads altogether.

Advertisements