Tag Archives: Internet

Not Quite Dead, but at least Diminishing

Death of the Free Web | Cap Watkins: “I’ve actually been noticing this transition in SV for the past year or so. More and more startups are focusing on revenue right out of the gate. The old way of trying to build gigantic user-bases and then sell their eyeballs to advertisers is falling by the wayside. There are certainly still exceptions, but right now they are just that – exceptions. Seeing a startup go after paying customers used to be like catching a glimpse of a unicorn. Now, it’s the status quo. But why?”

(Via. capwatkins.com)

Great piece here by Cap Watkins. Be sure to read it in full at the above link.

Sooo glad to see this trend. This whole Silicon Valley disease of fooling people into thinking everything in life should be free has been driving me nuts for decades. 

But the free web won’t die, unfortunately. It’s like a zombie–keeps rising up from time to time no matter how much you try and kill it. I have no doubt that this ad-supported nonsense will come back around. It cycles. It’s just too tempting for the handfuls of people who stand to get rich from the advertising model, and they’re very good bullshit artists. But the current cycle is winding down on ads, at least, and that makes me happy, at least for another year or two. 

As I keep joking, I’m looking forward to the traffic and rent prices coming back down to reasonable levels here in the Bay Area soon.

We’re discovering that you can’t create that sort of passion with free.

His example of Uber cab is an excellent one. Services that set out to solve a real-world problem don’t need to be free. People throw money at trying to solve problems all the time. And they’re happy to do so. And they become very loyal to services they pay for, in a way that they’ll never be loyal to Facebook or Twitter. Uber, Zipcar, Kickstarter, Square. These are the startups of today, and hopefully tomorrow.

Facebook and the State of Web Advertising

The Facebook Fallacy – Technology Review:

“The daily and stubborn reality for everybody building businesses on the strength of Web advertising is that the value of digital ads decreases every quarter, a consequence of their simultaneous ineffectiveness and efficiency. The nature of people’s behavior on the Web and of how they interact with advertising, as well as the character of those ads themselves and their inability to command real attention, has meant a marked decline in advertising’s impact. “

(Via technologyreview.com.)

What a great read. This could have been written eleven years ago, just before the first dot com bubble burst.

Everything hums along great for a while, sure. And a few people get rich every time. But for the vast majority of people, the notion that web advertising is sustainable as your sole source of income long term is just silly. The inside players in the Valley know this; they just don’t want everyone else to figure that out until it’s too late.

Facebook may very well come up with some master stroke, some bold new idea to start making a sustainable business in the long term. But thus far we haven’t seen any real evidence of that.

The Browser will take over any day now

Pew report: The Future of Apps and the Web:

Rob Scott, the chief technology officer for Nokia, believes the web will dominate and argues, “Once HTML5 browsers and fully capable Web runtimes are in place on the common Kindle through iPhone, the Web app will begin replacing native apps.”

(Via TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog)

I love how the tech world is full of this sentiment. “The browser is going to take over native apps any day now.” I’ve been literally hearing that since 2000. Hasn’t happened yet.

And why does it have to be one or the other? Why can’t I use native apps for some things, and HTML5 for others?

Native code is always going to be faster, and the experience is always going to be better when and app is tailored to a specific platform. It’s always the business suits who want to find the “write once, run everywhere” nirvana. They’re looking for cheaper ways to deploy.

Users have never asked for that and have never gravitated towards that.

I, Cringely talks data caps

That 250 gigabytes-per-month works out to about one megabit-per-second, which costs $8 in New York. So your American ISP, who has been spending $0.40 per month to buy the bandwidth they’ve been selling to you for $30, wants to cap their maximum backbone cost per-subscriber at $8.

That doesn’t sound unreasonable on the face of it. Capping consumption at 20-times the provisioning level doesn’t sound so bad, but I think it sets a dangerous precedent.

These data caps are actually a trap being set for us by the ISPs.

Data caps that may make logical sense today make no sense tomorrow, yet once they are in place they’ll tend to stay in place.

Great article by I, Cringely.

I’ve been thinking this ever since the talk of data caps started several months ago. Just like with variable pricing on music in the iTunes store, these sorts of pricing changes are never designed to actually help consumers. In the sort term, they look to make things cheaper for us. So most of us fall for it. But over the long run, they are cleverly hidden price hikes.

And the worst part is that none of it is necessary to keep ISPs in business. This is all about increasing profits. Nothing more.

2GB today sounds like a lot. 2GB a year from now might be average monthly use. 2GB ten years from now may very well be average DAILY use. Do you really think the ISPs are going to keep raising the amount of data you get for the same price over time?

Just when the Internet is becoming a necessary utility, companies are setting up the infrastructure to divide us up between those who can afford to pay for the data, and those who can’t. They’re turning something as essential to our future as running water and electricity into something only rich people can afford. And we’re going to suffer greatly as a nation because of it.

via Coyote Tracks – The filter bubble and you

And—with all respect to Alex Jones and Amy Goodman—this doesn’t require either a corporate or government conspiracy: it requires nothing more than sincerely good intentions. The Internet presents far more information to us than any of us can realistically process even as it encourages us to subscribe to ever more of that information. You’ll be behind and uninformed if you don’t use this service, too—but don’t worry, we’ll make sure you only get the information stream from it you really want.

Mind-blowing article. Highly recommend reading this and pondering the implications.

We can all agree that the Internet brings us information overload. The question is, would it be better to let us each sort out that overload for ourselves, or, as Google and Facebook are doing, let computers decide which content we are “most likely” to want?

And his final thought, that maybe what we want isn’t even what’s best for us, is particularly intriguing.

Perhaps the very act of personal filtration of information on the Internet, good intentioned as it may be, whether by computer or by ourselves, is more dangerous to our long-term learning and mind expansion than anyone knows.