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Can Web Advertising Last?

March 5, 2008 Leave a comment

While hunting for something wonderful to blog about I came across an article on the BBC Web site that caught my interest. The column discusses whether advertising has a real future on the Internet.

I for one think advertising has a very strong future on the Web and possibly in software. I think my generation is heavily to blame. I happen to be a product of Generation Y, which seems to be more commonly referred to as the “Millenials” these days. However you choose to refer to us, a very large number of us have somehow gotten the idea that things should be free. I’m not really sure where this belief came from, but it sure isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

We’ll throw down thousands of dollars for a computer, but we don’t want to pay for the media or software that goes on it. It’s pretty apparent that this applies to media more so than anything else. If we care to read news sites, such as the New York Times, we don’t want to pay extra for archived material. So what’s a publisher to do? In more and more cases, the answer seems to be advertising.

Advertising probably can’t work in all cases and it can be tricky to include it without being too intrusive, but it looks to be a popular solution. When the New York Times canceled its paid TimesSelect service a few months ago it integrated the content into the rest of the site and added ads to compensate (you still need a free account to access it). Even the BBC advertises on its international site these days to account for people outside of the U.K. who aren’t paying a license fee.

Maybe Napster is to blame, but the Millenials have been getting so much content for free that it’s going to be incredibly difficult to justify a higher price (if at all possible). With advertisers strongly interested in my generation and content providers struggling to make a buck they’ve begun to found some ground to work together. No, advertising on the Web definitely won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

Source: BBC News – “The writing is on the wall for ads”