In 2014, there are still two things that seem to be alive and stronger than ever, email and advertising. No matter what, these two simple concepts that changed the way we communicate and make money online haven’t found a proper innovative alternative to kill them. While email seems to be stronger than ever, even compared to new and quick forms of communication such as private messaging and collaboration tools, advertising is at the core of the internet and has got a single threat, called ad blocker.
It’s remarkable to reflect on the power of advertising and on how many billion dollar businesses has been able to create. I am thinking about Google, Yahoo, Facebook and even Great Preneurs, which is not a billion dollar one, but still uses advertising as a form of sustainability. What we should start wondering by now is if we are on the right path or should have started thinking about other solutions to make profits.
If advertising disappears today, the internet, as we know it, will never be the same. Google will be cancelled by Mountain View and even Facebook, which bases its revenues exclusively on advertising, won’t have any chance to keep existing, not even for a single day. In the past years, we have seen the raise of tools such as ad blocker, which have definitely created some damage to these companies, but still their market penetration is not world wide.
What if Ad Block is able to reach every single desktop user? Companies will have to double check the meaning of the word “innovate”. After more than twenty years, it seems ridiculous to see that the majority of the companies are still using the same model, advertising. However, with the growth of Ad Block extensions for desktop browsers, it seems there is the need to change everything and deprecate an old fashioned business model.
The companies we have listed must have already thought about the future and growth. That’s why they should have already a new solution to ads, which doesn’t have to be without “the promotion” side. We can still build a business model based on promoting other companies’ products without annoying ads all over the web. However I do think that it’s time to think it all over again.
In terms of blogging and online magazines, there is a right path, which some blogs are already using. By acquiring a premium membership, the readers are able not to see the ads on the website and get something else, which can be a t-shirt or some promo codes. Is it enough to make a blog sustainable? It might be enough, but in terms of revenues, we will probably see a downfall.
In the same way, Facebook should start questioning this model, since they will never let users pay for their platform. How are they going to be sustainable if they won’t be able to use advertising anymore? The answer is not direct, simple and natural; but we strongly believe there should be a way to deprecate an old fashion way to make billions of dollars. What the tech giant could do is to move toward a freemium model and let users pay for some extra features.
That would be the simplest way, but still, from an “image” point of view, it will look bad on the company. In the same way, even Google, which has got thousands of assets, has the majority of its revenues coming from advertising. It seems silly, but yes, adsense and adwords are what make Google still alive. Since they basically own what advertising means on the internet, I think in the end this company won’t opt for another business model.
Google and everyone that is involved in this market will try to find new ways to fight plugins such as Ad Block, because it’s easier to stick to what we already have than innovate and change everything. Ads are not cool, but if they are showed in the right context with the right content, they can even add more value to your web experience. I love those who are fighting against ads, by developing new ways not to show them, but in the end, they are just solo programmers against the big brother.