Fear not, I am not going to make you suffer through another version of the "No More Internet Free Lunch" lecture (although it WILL be on the final exam, I assure you.) But I am going to wonder why this noisy crowd that hates all forms of online advertising isn't picketing up and down 6th Avenue ranting at the broadcast networks for "taking over my screen" for ads and not just for 15 or 30 seconds, but for three or four minutes at a time at least four times an hour? And that doesn't count the promo craplets that run on the screen during the programming.
Where were these outraged voices when newspapers (bless their dying little hearts) started taking over 9/10th of each page with display ads for department stores? Not a lot of "screen real estate" left on those pages for news was there? Why weren't there riots when these fine folks settled into their $10 seats for the 7:15 start of a movie, only to suffer through the screen being "taken over" for the next 8 to 12 minutes with ads? How about those September issues of magazines that are (at least used to be) 80% ads? Where was the outrage of having to flip past spread after spread of "full screen takeovers" to find the first edit story?
When people sit down at their PCs a strange sense of entitlement overcomes them. They think they are entitled to free content. Free apps. Free movies. Free music. Free research that 20 years ago they would have paid hundreds of dollars for to get in a week - that now takes 15 minutes. Not that the internet is free. The ISPs are doing everything possible to make it more expensive to deliver service at speeds which would be considered an insult and a rip off in most other developed countries. But that only covers the hardware to pump the Web into your home, not the billions of pages of news, entertainment, games, porn, etc. that are available within a few clicks.
That misplaced sense of entitlement doesn't end with "I want it now and I want it free." Everyone thinks that because they have a Facebook page or a blog or a website that they have fractional ownership of the Web. And in that tiny little bit of electronic real estate they can post pretty much whatever they want regardless of who else it may harm, injure or insult. Or, in most cases, bore to tears. Twenty years ago were these folks all writing annoying letters to the editor of their local pager to opine they way they do online now? Or did they hire film makers to chronicle their sad little lives and play the results on a betamax loop running on a 26 in TV in their front yard for all the neighbors to watch? Being invited over to someone's home to watch a carrousel of 250 slides they took in Venice was an open invitation to drop a couple of Quaaludes and down a pint of gin before the lights were dimmed.
I don't care if the internet is a lean forward medium (or it is lean backwards, I can never keep it straight), there is no excuse for everybody to think that it is all about them and that marketers have no role to play in their little digital worlds. As much as Google would like to believe it, the world of online advertising is not going to start and end with little search-based text ads. "Big, intrusive, bash-you-on-the-head sorts of advertisements" are on their way and if you don't watch them, then don't get pissy when all the major content providers start asking you for $15 a month to access what you used to think was your birthright to get free. Five cents to update that MySpace page, please. That'll be 50 cents to watch that video my friend. Nice to see you, see us $2 to read that review.
You will beg for the return of an ad supported Internet.