October 9, 2013
Internet Game Changer Could Destroy Business Models
There have been plenty of attempts to change the Internet – so much so that the many consider whether we’re still truly in Web 2.0 or beyond.
However, Chad Russell and Charles Butkus could have created a device that could be a true game changer for the Internet; not because of the content it can provide or stream. No instead the pair created the AdTrap device.
The pair dubbed their small, zero configuration device to be one that removes ads from the Internet before reaching users. “Video, music streams and mobile apps and websites, all ad free. AdTrap works with any browser and all of your connected WiFi devices,” the pair claim on their website.
Perhaps I’m being a bit cynical by all this, but isn’t the sale pitch of theirs a bit of advertising.
OK, so this is different. This is sort of more of a marketing brochure where I took the time to click a link and visited the site – as opposed to clicking a link on an ad.
The pair claim that they were feeling nostalgic about the early days of the Internet.
“It was page, text and pictures — and that’s it,” Russell, 31, told CNN last week.
And perhaps this is again where my middle aged cynicism comes into play – not to mention my annoyance over CNN’s reporting.
While the AdTrap, a white box that resembles a wireless router, can be used to block ads it appears it does so on the web – not the Internet as a whole. Note to CNN: the World Wide Web is still just a component of the greater Internet. Email, FTP and newsgroups all made up the Internet as well.
Back to the cynicism and annoyance with Russell’s commentary. The original Internet, even the original Web wasn’t even really text and pictures. The earliest World Wide Web was slow loading text.
It is true there were few ads, but ads actually pre-existed the web to some extent and showed up in newsgroups – something the younger crowd might likely have forgotten about. Those existed in the era before forums and blogs, and have since mostly faded away.
Moreover, online services including AOL, CompuServe and Prodigy also weren’t entirely ad free. These subscription services originally existed as competitors and weren’t even connected to the Internet. Eventually that changed and the services faded away much like the newsgroups. Again, all this was back in the era of slow dial up too.
Today AOL is more of a web portal. My point on this is that if you’re going to reminisce about the ways things let’s remember the bad with the good.
And to the point of killing the ads – let’s keep in mind sites need a form of revenue. It is true that ads, pop up ads especially can be annoying, but what is the alternative.
Kill all the ads and more sites will be forced to move behind a paywall. Let’s also not forget that Ad Trap costs nearly $150 with shipping so it isn’t exactly a free way to reduce the ads either.
Even CNN noted it could put business models at risk. The truth is that the Internet doesn’t need these devices that could already put business models at risk because simply put the business models are barely working as it is. The web has done its part – and probably more than its fair share – to kill print publishing. Do we now to come up with a way to ensure that the money can’t be made with advertising?
That might seem like a good business model for Russell and Butkus but it is bad for the rest of us. In the end we all need to be paid for our work and killing ads isn’t going to help matters.
Image Credit BluePoint Security, Inc