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.


Luxottica to work with Google on Google Glass eyewear (The Guardian/FT/Businessweek/Engadget)

Beyond the PR aspect, the possible pull for stores (come try them) and trying to make the glasses better looking thanks to Luxottica’s designers the problem is this is still technology in search of a problem to solve, which Google hasn’t yet found. The solution would be to start looking for those uses and see how the glasses help… Plus there’s the creep and privacy factors to solve:

Sherlock google glass

Sherlock, from

Luxottica: Glassy (FT). Will it help the earnings and sales growth? A lot will depend on the first models, but it would be a mistake to let the market think results depend to a great degree on this deal.

Google to De-Dorkify Glass in Partnership With Ray-Ban Maker Luxottica (Businessweek). Luxottica… “a far larger footprint than fashionable online retailer Warby Parker, with which Google reportedly discussed a partnership.” so it’s not just design Google has in mind, it’s also retail presence.

Uses like this: Sailboat racers get a heads-up display to call their own (Engadget).

Brands: We want to be your friend (The Economist)

Answers to jaded consumers:

  • More of the same.
  • Cut through marketing speak.
  • Humour.
  • Disarm with honesty.

“Many companies want to go further and bypass conventional ad campaigns altogether”. The value of “earned media”: responding instead of interrupting.

Going viral is a means, not an end…

“Only in places like Asia and Latin America, with lots of newish consumers, is there a bit more attachment to brands”.