Most people just see the internet as a free service, you just switch on your computer or device hit the browser button and your off, the whole world is virtually at your fingertips. But this is not exactly true, the fact is that browsing the internet is not entirely free, at least for the companies that promote their goods and services online.
Just like TV or Radio much of the internet is funded by advertisements albeit it in a different format. For instance log on to Google and search for something, anything (we searched for cars for sale UK) and you will see that the very top listings and the ones down the side are AdWords generated which means that the companies who are in that position are paying a premium to the search engine to be there, in this example Google is being paid. Each time a user clicks the link in the ad Google gets paid by the company listed and the more competitive the words the more they charge to be top of the list.
All the major search engine tech giants rely massively on Adwords and Pay per Click (PPC) campaigns such as this because it literally generates billions of dollars in revenue per year for them. All the big companies and many small companies use this Pay per click campaign as a short cut to the top of the search engine listings but as you can guess, cutting corners comes at a premium.
It’s not just general searches either, huge amounts of money is made for the search engines from making the user watch ads on things like YouTube videos, most of us have had the annoyance of having to watch a couple of paid ads before you can actually watch the video you clicked on.
In our image below we have again searched for cars for sale, note that the first 2 mins of this video is clearly an ad and the box at the bottom right tells us that we can click it off in two mins to enjoy the video ad free, until then you are force fed the advertisement. This is a huge money maker for search engines and online advertising companies.
Now because of software called AD Block Plus which is available to download for FREE all the above is quite possibly on the brink of change. Although AD Block plus was founded in 2006 by Wladimir Palant but it wasn’t until 2011 when he teamed up with Till Faida that the software became open source and more widely available with the formation of voluntary group Eyeo.
The following is an excerpt from the Eyeo web page:
“With the help of an international community of volunteers, we develop open source software that millions of people use every day to have a better online experience. Our solutions such as Adblock Plus, which, with over 300 million downloads is the most popular add-on/extension ever, put users in control over the kind of content they see online. Beyond that, we build software that encourages positive, informative advertising and privacy protection practices.
We are an international team, about half of whom work in the main Cologne office and the other half remotely. Eyeo was founded in 2011, when Till Faida met Wladimir Palant; and the two decided to take Palant’s sometimes hobby, Adblock Plus, and try and change a billion-dollar industry with it.”
Until recently this software was a kind of open secret only known about by the tech savvy amongst us, it has been there but you had to know where to look but with an estimated 144 million users worldwide (which is increasing year on year) it’s not much of a secret anymore and according to a recent article on MSN news it has got the big search engines quite worried, so much so that it is claimed that the big guns in search such has Google, Microsoft’s Bing are waging war and even threatening to sue the organisation behind AD Block Plus. With an estimated 545 billion dollars being spent each year on digital ads I suspect the search giants are very concerned indeed.
No doubt Google is very concerned and I have to ask the question, are they considering offering an ad free internet through Google to combat this threat? This new concept of ad free searches and videos that Google is proposing is where you can subscribe for around £2 per month and enjoy an ad free Google searches and videos without having to endure the adverts first. I have read a lot of this proposal over the last few days but more recently in a story featured in Metro News yesterday, you can read the story here.
So is the internet or at least the search engines that provide the results going through radical changes? In my humble opinion one of three things will happen,
1. The major search engines will joint suit and try and use their combined corporate clout to muscle the owners of AD Block Plus out of existence.
2. All major search engines will explore the subscription route or
3. One of the major search engines will make them an offer they can’t refuse of many zillions of dollars and eradicate the threat by buying it. Which will possibly work fine until another such software is created.
My money is on the latter but I guess we will have to wait and see.
By: Johnny G
Posted: December 9, 2014, 3:16 pm
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