The Internet Is About Freedom

March 23, 2009
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I was in a bit of shock when I saw that the top story on Techmeme was a post on TechCrunch entitled. “Why Advertising Is Failing On The Internet“. After all, TechCrunch is an ad-supported site–something I admittedly had to confirm using a browser without an ad blocker.

But my confusion subsided when I realize that the TechCrunch post was actually a guest post by Eric Clemons, Professor of Operations and Information Management at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Here’s the outline:

1. There Must Be Something Other Than Advertising

2. Advertising will fail

3. Advertising will fail for three reasons:

  • Consumers do not trust advertising.
  • Consumers do not want to view advertising.
  • Consumers do not need advertising.

4. Alternative models for monetization are available:

  • Selling content and information.
  • Selling experience and participation in a virtual community.
  • Selling accessories for virtual communities.

In my case he’s preaching to the converted, and I don’t see why his arguments should be so controversial. But clearly they are in a world where the ad-supported model dominates to such an extent that most people don’t im

I was in a bit of shock when I saw that the top story on Techmeme was a post on TechCrunch entitled. “Why Advertising Is Failing On The Internet“. After all, TechCrunch is an ad-supported site–something I admittedly had to confirm using a browser without an ad blocker.

But my confusion subsided when I realize that the TechCrunch post was actually a guest post by Eric Clemons, Professor of Operations and Information Management at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Here’s the outline:

1. There Must Be Something Other Than Advertising

2. Advertising will fail

3. Advertising will fail for three reasons:

  • Consumers do not trust advertising.
  • Consumers do not want to view advertising.
  • Consumers do not need advertising.

4. Alternative models for monetization are available:

  • Selling content and information.
  • Selling experience and participation in a virtual community.
  • Selling accessories for virtual communities.

In my case he’s preaching to the converted, and I don’t see why his arguments should be so controversial. But clearly they are in a world where the ad-supported model dominates to such an extent that most people don’t imagine any other business model is viable. I hope his post helps persuade a few skeptics.

Finally, I love his conclusion:

The internet is about freedom, and I suspect that a truly free population will not be held captive and forced to watch ads.  We always knew that freedom comes at a price; perhaps the price of internet freedom and the failure of ads will be paying a fair price for the content and the experience and the recommendations that we value.

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