Just as video killed the radio star, advertisements have killed the web. People are going mobile for all the reasons why the web used to be good before the developers and advertisers got a hold of it. Back around 2000 or so, you could still “surf” the internet. You could surf from site to site, page to page, and keep several windows open. .
Then, something began to change.
Developers begat the advertisers
The developers began to take over. What followed were the advertisers. Everyone wanted to show how “cool” they were and how well they could code. In doing this, they created fat pages, heavy on bandwidth and nearly impossible to surf. At the same time browser developers wanted to show how much complex material they could shove into a browser. They were going to create a Ferrari when most people wanted a taxi. The web has gone from surfing to staggering through treacle. Page after page take ages to load. Even with a stripped down browsers and operating systems with lots of RAM, processing speed, and video, the web stalls and drags.
The pages are full of the latest gimmicks created by the developer, advertiser, or the browser. Everyone wants to show off the bells and whistles. They want the latest gimmick to show how clever they are instead of looking after the user. The advertisers followed because they wanted the latest gimmick to attract buyers. The first time one of these is used, it looks interesting. By the time it is standard, it is annoying.
The user really does not need 90% of what today’s web pages offer. Here is a case in point. For me, this page demonstrates why people want to go mobile.
CMSwire is an organisation that should know better. I say this because the Simpler Media Group publishes it. If this is simpler media, I hate to imagine what “complex media” looks like. The page is chock full of ads, clunky loading graphics, strange illustrations and a look that makes you think you are reading an advertorial.
Why do I need to know or see how many people like it on Facebook? If I want to follow CMSwire on Facebook, I will go there to find it.
Why do I need to see recent comments? They have no bearing on the content. They appear as stream of conscious statements without any reference to what is on the page.
Why is 50% of the page focused on irrelevant link material? The bottom half of the page has material that is better placed somewhere else if the reader wants to find it.
When I access this page through a mobile device, all the irrelevant material is missing or the page does not load. Either way, it is a benefit.
Forget link bait, the future is content bait.
The page has meaningless and useless information, links, and, most of all, adverts. What we are seeing is more than link bait. It is content bait. The company, which touts itself as simpler media, stretched a 4-paragraph story over two pages. The key “lesson” turns out to be an apocryphal story. In other words, it is made up to make the point. Therefore, to get this point, I have to wade through two pages of treacle, avoid half a dozen ads, and I am told that this is a story made up to illustrate the point. Great!
Facebook and the flight from advertisements
The problem for the web is that everyone wants advertisement revenue. Ad revenue, though, is created when people actually buy the products advertised. The reality is that most people do not use advertisements that are offered to buy the products they want or need. The ads on most pages are for products people are never going to buy online or find by clicking from the page. I am going to buy or sell my Ipad through a dealer on this link from the CMSwire page. Puhlease!
The advertisement binge is linked to the Facebook effect. Everyone thinks they have the next Facebook marketing audience. The problem is that this is simply not true. People are not on Facebook to have adverts. In many ways, a flight from advertisements defines the mobile media today. The situation is so bad that people are paying to *avoid* advertisements. I can see the future turning to the BBC model with a licence fee that allows you to avoid advertisements. Who wants or needs this material? If this stuff worked, why do we need so much of it? Moreover, if advertisements work, why is Facebook now investing in and allowing behavioural marketing firms to harvest, process, and profit from your personal information to sell you products? Are we just signing up for an advertisement or marketing platform?
What is to be done?
We need an internet that we can surf. We need pages that load fast and clean. We need to get away from the bloated pages full of advertisements and coding gimmicks.
We need developers to lead the way. If you want to be famous, create pages that surf. Create a search capacity that allows you to find what you want.
Perhaps we have passed the point of no routine. Perhaps developers have reached the end of their creativity. Perhaps that remains is a memory of what the web once was and could have been.
- Facebook’s fail? No, Madison Avenue’s! (thepomoblog.com)
- Is Facebook and the ad-supported Web doomed? (danlargo.com)
- The Facebook Fallacy (technologyreview.com)
- The Facebook Fallacy – Without an earth-changing idea, it will collapse (technologyreview.com)