As so often Daring Fireball linked to a great piece. This time a talk by Maciej Ceglowski called “The Internet with a human face” delivered at the Beyond Tellerrand 2014 Conference in Düsseldorf Germany.
Various themes are combined by Maciej into a thoughtful, though bleak, view on the development of the commercial internet. Especially interesting I find his take on the role advertising is playing as a business model to fund the internet as we know it today. Even though analogies are often dangerous to use, I like his analogy on the development of our road system and how the ads driven internet is developing.
It pretty much sums up my own grievances against the might build by Google and Facebook as I have regularly reported on here at RPD.
Just a few quotes:
Google’s answer is[on criticism on the invasiveness of Google glass, RPD], wake up, grandpa, this is the new normal. But all they’re doing is trying to port a bug in the Internet over to the real world, and calling it progress.
You can dress up a bug and call it a feature. You can also put dog crap in the freezer and call it ice cream. But people can taste the difference.
It is legitimately frightening to have the government spying on all its citizens. What I take issue with is the idea that you can have different kinds of mass surveillance.
If these vast databases are valuable enough, it doesn’t matter who they belong to. The government will always find a way to query them. Who pays for the servers is just an implementation detail.
It’s silly to pretend that keeping mass surveillance in private hands would protect us from abuses by government. The only way to keep user information safe is not to store it.
Advertising is when someone pays you to tell your users they’ll be happy if they buy a product or service.
Yahoo is an example of a company that runs on advertising. Gawker is a company that runs on advertising.
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.
Advertising is like the flu. If it’s not constantly changing, people develop immunity.
Investor storytime is a cancer on our industry.
Because to make it work, to keep the edifice of promises from tumbling down, companies have to constantly find ways to make advertising more invasive and ubiquitous.
Investor storytime only works if you can argue that advertising in the future is going to be effective and lucrative in ways it just isn’t today. If the investors stop believing this, the money will dry up.
Read the text version here (highly recommended): The Internet With A Human Face – Beyond Tellerrand 2014 Conference Talk.