Do you remember the old internet advertising scheme? The first time I came across it, I thought it was pretty neat. You download this program. It shows you ads, and in return you get either money or some free service such as internet (so you can watch more ads). So I tried it of course. Within probably a few days or so I was sick of it. But it was already too late. My brother had caught on. The next thing I know, the computer is bogged down with ad programs and fake clickers. The useable screen size had shrunk to a quarter.
That was the old model. And even though he might have made some money (at the expense of all of us), that model flopped. I haven't heard much about those programs in recent years. I believe most or all the companies went bankrupt. Let's think about why for a minute. You have advertisers trying to cram useless ads down consumer's throats who really have no interest in the products. Both sides are trying to make a little money at the expense of the other. And it's just a horrible model. You can't make a living being a consumer. It works out badly for everyone. And in the mean time, my hard disk is grinding away churning out ads I don't want to see.
Since then, things have gotten better and worse. For a while, web pages got really vicious and started forcing you to look at banner ads, hijacking the content for about 30 seconds or so. Either most of this has gone away, or popup blockers have defeated them. And then of course there is the adware/malware phenomenon. What, you don't want to be paid to watch ads? Ok, we'll just force them onto your computer. But there is good to complement the evil. And that is Google adsense - the only ads I have ever (voluntarily without being tricked) clicked on. And I have actually found some of them to be helpful. I actually go looking for the content that's being advertised. Targeted advertising - at last!
See, Google takes the opposite approach. Be nice to the web surfer. Keep the ads small and out of harm's way. And surprise, surprise, it works. And think about this new wonderful model they've created. Instead of encouraging people to rot their brains on ads, everyone now wants to be a producer. Do a Google search for make money with adsense. It's all over the internet. Post useful content to your website and make money. Unfortunately, I think they have inadvertently created a big ugly marketing monster (should I link to those?). But that's ok. Whether those are scams or legitimate, they cause far less distraction to the average user. The commercialization of the internet is actually promoting productivity instead of the mindless consumption that was previously thrown at us.
Perhaps things have matured a little. Maybe this is just another advertising phase. I don't know, but if things are different in five more years, I hope they continue in this direction. And without the malware of course.