The Internet’s Original Sin

Ethan Zuckerman argues that it’s not too late to ditch the ad-based business model and build a better web. I hope he’s right. Most websites are ugly misleading pools of clickbait, traps, and even some of the most legit ones are covered in deception. Mr. Zuckerman was one of the guy behind some of the current ad-based model adopted by most websites (like pop-ups). His intentions were good, but it turned into an absolute mess.

Sure the majority of the content on the Net is free. The ad-based model is responsible for drowning me in information at my fingertip. However, in exchange for free content, we had to give up on quality which lead us to navigate a labyrinth of cyber landmines.

The latest trend of deception is to plug advertising as news. It look likes a real news article link, but instead it’s an advertising link that as the feel of real news. They are getting deceitful. Now bullshit radar has been upgraded and can detect 95% of the frauds. The other 5% are the new scams that keeps me on my toes.

I reposted my favorite section of the article below.

Reposted from The Atlantic
By Ethan Zuckerman

There are businesses, Cegłowski notes, that make money from advertising, like Yahoo and Gawker. But most businesses use advertising in a different way. Their revenue source is 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.

Pinterest is a site that runs on investor storytime. Most startups run on investor storytime.

Investor storytime is not exactly advertising, but it is related to advertising. Think of it as an advertising future, or perhaps the world’s most targeted ad.

Both business models involve persuasion. In one of them, you’re asking millions of listeners to hand over a little bit of money. In the other, you’re persuading one or two listeners to hand over millions of money.

The key part of investor storytime is persuading investors that your ads will be worth more than everyone else’s ads.

Full article: The Internet’s Original Sin by The Atlantic


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