It’s been a strong belief of mine that advertisements becoming the most powerful online industry has been extremely harmful for the world wide web.
But first, I want to say that what is making me think about it more than usual has been reading this article.
Most Content On The Web Is Free
You can thank advertisements for this. Someone is willing to pay for you to get your free content if they can get you to view their ad. But most advertisements are not very effective. (Which is due to you largely ignoring them) This is a problem for advertisers, who need your attention, in the hopes you purchase their product. Companies selling ads have started to target ads based on information that they have gathered about your online habits. This strategy is the unconditional result of a web heavily focused on offering free content.
Most Advertisements Aren’t Very Effective
Google is very successful with ads. But as the article I linked says, Google is very good at finding individuals who are just about to buy and getting them to go to your website. This means that if I am selling something then I will want to advertise on Google.
If I want you to advertise on my website, then I had better be able to be more effective than Google at getting you to purchase something from an ad.
But you don’t like ads on my website because they’re distracting! And I agree; I want you to spend time on my site, build a relationship with me. I don’t want you to be going other places, and neither do you. You came here because there was something that I said that drew your attention. You’re not here to buy soap.
But I know that I’ve enjoyed getting absolutely free content from the web. And that’s because I use ad-block. In a sense I am cheating. I still get the free content, but I don’t see the advertisement and the website doesn’t get paid. But they still have to host their website for me. But what other options are available to web businesses?
Selling Digital Goods Is Very Difficult
As a website owner, who would like to have this website turn into a successful business. What options are available to incentivize myself to continue adding additional content. There is something to be said about simply offering a service, knowing that I was useful to someone. But that alone sadly isn’t enough. Eventually I’ll need to be spending time capitalizing my personal skill set.
My skill set is in the digital field. From the blogs I write, to the software I create, even my terrible 3D content. And it’s all easily copied. It only takes a single person to buy one and redistribute indefinitely. But if I offer it freely there’s a much lower incentive to redistribute my work. (Ad based revenue is easy to start seeing as a viable option) But remember that the more ad based we become the more spying will occur. They are simply cause and effect.
Digital Rights Management (DRM)
DRM is seen by many to be the enemy of information. I think that’s not entirely true. I see DRM as necessary to keep personal information safe. DRM is not always a corporation trying to keep files from being copied, it’s also about protecting the user from having their own personal information taken without consent. But it should be said that Digital Rights Management has for the most part been ineffective, for both the individual and the corporation. Digital Rights Management does help a little. But tools to bypass are extremely simple to use and require only basic computer literacy. Which is why it is somewhat effective. Not everyone is going to know how to use the tools required to bypass DRM. However, I’d argue that computer literacy is increasing and computers are also becoming easier to use. Meaning that even where DRM is currently effective it cannot be assumed to remain effective.
For DRM to be effective it must
- Be convenient
- Offer bonuses for use
- Avoid unlimited domains (for example it’s much easier to police my own website vs the entire world)
- Protect both individuals and corporations
Digital Right Management Strategies Used By Game Developers
I bring up game developers, because they are ahead of the curve when it comes to new and effective forms of DRM.
There are of course many more examples than those listed & strategies to monetize may use a combination of items on my list.
- Cloud Based Services – The use of an online data-base is used to allow data to be retrieved without regard to the clients machine. Access to the data-base is given after capitalization has been secured.
- Free To Play – Applications do not require immediate payment, but rather offer in app purchases that are optional.
- Item Economies – Where applications have items for sale from company to player or from player to player.
I believe that the internet and eventually the meta-verse could learn a thing or two from the game development community. And I would like to see some ingenuity arise as to ways to monetize websites beyond advertisements.