The internet is a wonderful source of information. Videos and volumes of text exist to provide information for just about any imaginable topic. In 1990 the World Wide Web was born. In the past 28 years, we have managed to fill hard drives with data from almost all recorded parts of human history. Why did people put forth the effort to compile all of this information? It started as an academic endeavor, but it quickly became a method of making money. Fast forward to present day, and everyone with a computer and a blog can start making money. How is it so easy to start making money? It is because money is being earned on false pretense.
How is all of this money earned? If you have a website, you can rent out portions of your website to companies that are selling products. This has been made a very easy and automated process. You merely sign up with Google or some other advertising provider, and they will give you a bit of code to place on your web page and voilà, an ad shows up. Assuming that people come to view your website, you will start making money. You will earn money just by having people look at your website, you’ll earn a little more if someone actually clicks the ad on your website. How does this result in money being made?
Advertisers have learned that by exposing people to their product, they increase the probability of sale. This is why advertisers pay for commercials on TV and billboards, and now billboards online. The difference between online advertising and more traditional forms of advertising is that traditional advertising is that online advertising is intrusive. When you are watching TV, it is obvious that the commercial break has started. Some people get up and take care of things during the commercial break, or choose to sit still and watch the advertising. When you are driving down the road, you choose to read the billboard, or you choose to ignore it a move along. Online advertising has now overrun most websites with information. I enjoy reading many tech blogs. These blogs often exist just make money and they bombard a user with advertising on all corners of the page. I must wade through advertising just to get to the information that I want to see. Sure, personally I run advertising blocking, but not everyone does. This means that most advertising is just inconvenient for people seeking information.
So what does this have to do with an internet/tech bust? This boils down to being realistic. I know that I block advertising on my computer. Have you ever clicked an online advertisement intentionally? It is generally advised against due to the fact that they can be compromised by insecure organizations.
So if I don’t click on ads, and I definitely don’t buy anything from ads, and you aren’t because you’ve been told not to, then where is the money coming from? The answer is that it is coming from the overinflated value of online advertising. While I don’t expect that it will go away, I do feel that the day is coming where the value of advertising returns to a realistic value. Websites like TechCrunch are owned by Verizon. They are driving their own users to the site and are making money from advertising. Media organizations can be and should be taught a lesson in how invaluable their advertising is. Inevitably, this bubble is going to burst. I don’t think that is a bad thing. It is bad that the value of the advertising is inflated currently.
We can help speed the process and reduce our inconveniences with advertising. There are many ad blockers out there, but that can be a tricky minefield. Many ad blockers are malware masquerading as good tools. You can use private browsing, which is available from most of the major browsers. That is a good start. I personally use a tool called Ghostery. I AM NOT BEING PAID BY ANYONE TO MAKE THESE RECOMMENDATIONS. You do not see advertising on my page, and I am not making any money on this blog. I am just giving information based on my usage. Mozilla makes the web browser Firefox and they offer the following list of possible good ad blockers: Ad Blocker Roundup: 5 Ad Blockers That Improve Your Internet Experience.
In conclusion, I expect the relatively near future to see some of these advertising and media companies come back to reality. I’m sure that many of the large companies will be fine, it will be the small bloggers who are currently making a living doing this that will be hurt the most. I don’t want to see small time writers hurt, but, I would like to return to an Internet where I can search for information and not wade through 3 Google pages of shopping websites before I get to data.