Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Facebook, Twitter Begin Slide into Irrelevance

I don't always agree with Networkworld's Mark Gibbs, but he's seldom boring. This week he riffed on Facebook's and Twitter's dependance on advertising. Coming from magazine publishing, he's sure to know how fickle that proposition is.

Basically in exchange for free content and ads, users sell their souls, otherwise known as PII. Fair exchange? I think not. But users are selectively cheap. They're been conditioned to expect online content and services for free, although the cost of accessing the content and services isn't free. What ISP doesn't exact a monthly fee for access? If Google is so intent on free access information, why doesn't it supply ad-free search, and provide payments to content creators?

This perspective may be influenced by my role as a content creator, but it bothers me that users expect free online content, but these same freeloaders expect to pay for Starbucks and slacker chic.

Denny Hatch, a curmudgeonly DM commentator, and others have suggested that Facebook, Twitter, and their ilk charge $1/month for use. Do the math. That's billions a year, and for $12/year we won't have to provide PII and suffer invasive ads. Of course, there's a risk to building a paywall in that someone else can offer that service for free. It wasn't so long ago that mobile service providers tried to keep users in walled gardens. How Apple continues to do this is beyond my ken.