I had lunch yesterday with my old friend and former colleague, Chip Bayers, who, 15 years ago this week, after having left my fledgling Internet business in New York, helped start HotWired in San Francisco. This is significant because advertising on the Internet started with HotWired's launch and because it started with the banner ad, invented by Wired's editor and founder, Louis Rossetto, and because advertising on the Internet is still dominated by the banner ad, which has never worked all that well.
In fact, this very development which, 15 years ago, launched the Internet revolution is now threatening to stop it in its tracks. Or, anyway, the fact that, beyond search ads, lame excuses for advertising, there has been no meaningful development of Internet advertising forms, acumen, or performance.
I bring this up not just because of my pleasant lunch or because Internet CPMs (what we get paid for a thousand views) continue to fall through the floor, but because Google has announced a new free GPS system which you'll be able to use on your phone. Google is saying that this nifty service, all the niftier because it is free, will probably be supported by an advertising model.
What we have here is a perfect example of the great Internet advertising paradigm: Make something nifty, make it free, get a lot of people to use it, and then sell some ads around it, although, because we are technology people, and have never seduced anybody, we really don't know how to create effective advertising.
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