Advertisers, publishers and users; a love-hate triangle.

In my last posting I mentioned to advertisements I have seen that, let’s say, caught my attention. Both in their own way, if that is good or not. But it makes a nice Segway into the advertising, because this is something we will be faced with a lot in the coming years. Why? Because more and more we are trying to get rid of it so much.

If we realize it or not, we need advertisement to have things happening the way they do online right now. If we want to go online, surf to a couple of different websites to get todays news for free, it needs to be paid in any shape or form. The people who are creating content – and believe me, creating content is underestimated and hard work – need to be paid. This is a subject that we read often about in various blogs.

I still do not see the really big problem with payments, to be honest. But I know I am one of the few who does not mind paying for things I like to use. I have paid a large part of my life for a news-paper, magazine subscriptions en online subscriptions. I do not mind to pay it now too, although I would prefer it would be less than the usual news-paper subscription, because we can cut out the delivery and printing process. But the fact is, most people do not want to pay. They do want to use, but just do not want to pay.

So the money has to come from somewhere. And if the people who are using it are not paying for it, then someone else needs to cough up the dough. Which, usually, are the advertisers. With two other continuous projects that I own I am trying to find new ways to avoid advertisements and still get paid, but it is hard and takes a lot of research to come up with new things. But for the most companies, advertising is their way to have an income.

But we all hate online advertising so much, that a lot of users seek out an ad-blocker, to hide the advertisements from our sight. Which, actually, is hypocritical; you want something for free, and even then you kill the only means of income for the publisher.

It is not that strange though, since advertisements are more and more trying to catch attention, because their performance fails miserably. Or does it? We never knew how many people responded to an ad in a magazine or newspaper. But online, we can count how many people view an advertisement and how many people actually act on it. And those numbers are not pretty.

But with the possibility to block advertisements, you take away even the remote possibility to act on an advertisement. So, advertisers start to demand new technologies to get the advertisements to the users, or otherwise they will cancel their advertisements with the publisher, which means less or no money. Which means the publisher will eventually deplete their bank account and will go bankrupt.

So, just like what Apple is now going to do in their new iPhone OS-4 this summer, advertisements are becoming more intelligent, and the systems get so much integrated you cannot get rid of them anymore. Not only Apple does this, I noticed that my Magellan GPS with t-link also shows advertisements when I use my traffic notification. Nice, Nike sponsored this traffic jam.

But what advertisers are also not realizing is that it is so easy and cheap now to advertise, there are so many more advertisers, that for users there are simply too many advertisements. It simply is enough. There are more requests for online advertisements than that there are locations to advertise on. Even in print that never happened on this scale.

Now, reading this posting, you might think I have my opinion in here. But, should we actually care? Let’s be brutal here, should we care about online publishers going out of business? Hmmm. I actually will say ‘no’.

Survival means evolution. Also in the commercial industry and media. The one that adapts to the market will be the survivor. The one that changes the market will be the innovator. The one that tries to go on like nothing happened will eventually disappear. But the demand for information will not go away. So if many publishers will cease to exist, it will provide a more stable, thinner, information market. And if those companies would find a nice balance between subscriptions and/or well designed and less advertising, I think we would find out that nothing really changed that much than the time we all bought our magazines for information with advertisements we just flipped over, and occasionally one would attract our attention.

To qoute one of our favorite Disney movies; ‘That’s the circle of life’.


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