The Business Model of the Internet is Advertising

I was listing to an NPR segment on Internet Noise, and someone said a collection of words that was close to the title of this article. And it was in such a nonchalant manner in which they said it, but people rarely acknowledge that the business model of the internet is advertising.

A business model is an interesting thing. Actually I find myself saying pretty often, “That’s an interesting business model”, like when I hear about someone monetizing something that you either a) didn’t know was monetizable or b) doing so in a unique and inventive way. Services are monetized when a service is done, and money is exchanged for doing so.

The internet really changes all of that, because when our service based economy goes to the internet, it’s services that we need (need with a big astericks on it because it’s debatable how much we need some of these), but if the service is to be entertained, you may have a game installed on your phone. If a service is a photo editor, you may have an app to do that. If the service is news, you consume content. And if the service is a map to help you find your way, well that map is going to help you but it will come at an invisible price.

It could all be free. But it’s not.

Ads fund the internet. Ads pay the rent for those app developers who made Crazy Birds (clearly I’m not into smart phone gaming), ads fuel content creation, ads allow for all those tools we depend on every single day possible and absolutely seemingly free to it’s users. It’s a foundational problem because you’re a customer, but you don’t pay anything. And now you can basically transpose the words ads and data. They’re inherently related. Because even when you don’t see an ad, your data is being collected, and it’s being used in all ultimate end game for advertising.

So when the FCC kills privacy legislation put in place during the last administration, and these 265 members of congress sell you out, it’s good to know what’s going on.

Tell your senators what you think. A 5 sentence email takes approximately 3 minutes to write. And #send.

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