I was working with a client today, discussing ways to monetize content on the web. He was talking about Google AdSense and other revenue generating techniques [full disclosure: I am an ‘affiliate’ of Amazon.com and people can buy books through Amazon on my site, after which I get paid]. These techniques have always seemed small and shortsighted to me.
I also have no problem, per se, with advertising. I work with a few media companies who do an effective job of building a community of people with similar worldviews. I have no problem with them getting paid for building the community.
My client was telling me that I should use these techniques to generate revenues through the increased traffic to this blog, the website and, soon, our podcasts. This got me to talking about my favorite website from a design standpoint – Google. It’s so clean, so pure. Even when you go to their “more” page it’s clean – and there’s no advertising. We then looked at Yahoo and MSN – their homepages were nothing but links and ads. It was then that I realized the genius of Google. They do not expose you to advertising or direct you to content (what’s in it for them) until the viewer has gotten something of value (the response to their search). They create value before they receive value in return– that’s a rule we should all live by.
Until next time, Doug