Monday, January 12, 2015

The Internet is All Advertisements

Today the frogs try some targeted advertising with the help of a cookie. It may or may not work, depending on if you, the reader, have the cookie or not.

Advertising used to be about billboards - like this one.
In real life, I have to wonder how online advertising ever works. The Internet is a weird place. It costs a lot of money to operate, but everyone expects it to be free. Sites that put up "paywalls" are generally maligned. That leaves advertising as the only way to pay the bills, which means the online advertising industry has grown to enormous size and complexity. And you probably don't ever even think about it.

It's not just websites that are expected to be free. Look at the smartphone app marketplace. Paid apps are rare. It's just some global understanding that everything related to the Internet, even mobile Internet, should be free (except your mobile data plan! I'm sure that costs a fortune!).

Do you ever click on ads you see on websites? I rarely do, except in cases where the ad offers me a discount code or something on a product at which I looked but didn't purchase.

I've tried being on the other side as well. I will occasionally run ads for amphibian.com on Facebook. The amount of users on the Internet is so big it's just a numbers game. I have to get my ad seen by 10,000 people so 30 will click on it. Good thing Facebook has a billion users to see my ad! If get my ad seen by everyone on Facebook, I could get 3 million clicks. I think that would cost me close to a million dollars. And I don't even make any money from my comic! If I did, I'd probably have to put ads on it, like I have on this blog.

So the whole Internet is paid for by clicking on ads that send you to sites with other ads for you to click on.

And the smartest people in the world go work at Google and Facebook to build systems for better advertisement targeting.

Oh, well. Enjoy some ad-free frog comics!

Amphibian.com comic for 12 January 2015