18 October 2012

Come Into My Parlor, Said The Spider

A minor, but recurring, theme of this endeavor is the fragility of advert driven business, web division. As most know, virtually everything on the web is either advert based, or shopping (well, by most accounts porn is the majority by far). Deriving one's revenue from folks who may or may not want to buy something else has been debated for decades. I first got a glimpse when I read "The Hidden Persuaders" by Vance Packard, either high school or junior high (now often called Middle School). It was written in the late 50s, and I read it sometime later.

Over my Panera coffee this morning, there was this article about click based adverts in my dead trees version. Made some notes, thought about posting about it, but... nah. Then, kaboom, Google pooped the bed!

What to make of all this? First and foremost: the advert based interTubes was always fragile. The 2000 dotbomb wasn't the end of things, although I do miss the Pets.com sock puppet. (Aside: I read some wag who opined that CEOs are so overpaid, because these MegaCorps could be run by a sock puppet. That was before 2008, of course.) As Mr. Telford found out, there always other, and oft times cheaper, ways to get people to buy your widgets. As I've written long before, Google is always one "innovation" away from irrelevance: a more effective (at least to the advert buyers) advert platform will do to Google what Google did to newspapers. Of note, Mr. Udell (another small businessman):
"The cost to get someone just to visit your Web site has, in some cases, become prohibitive. Something that cost $3 might be a no-brainer, but at $20 it becomes absurd. It's basic math, and if it doesn't add up, we won't do it." He said he planned to redirect some of his advertising dollars to print, television and radio. [my emphasis]

Google is trying to do, successfully, what Sun didn't do with java: leverage one product to sell something else. Sun expected java to increase its shift of servers. Google is trying much the same with Android; which is not java. We'll see. Google may have overpriced its advert platform. On the other hand, Yelp is reported to be tracking fake positive reviews, and other business espionage.

One wonders: will Google tweak its "algorithm" yet again to degrade organic matches? Do they really have any choice? For myself, I always use AdBusters, which I found when I was on dialup as a way to reduce bandwidth hogging. AdBusters causes some controversy, but I don't see the issue. If one has no intention of following ads, as I don't, why object to AdBusters? It isn't as though I'll start madly clicking away, while page loading slows to a crawl!

Make a widget and sell it.

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