In the business of publishing ads

What seems to be an easy way to make money is to create a content website and publish ads – such as with Google AdSense. Clicks on these ads will earn the webmaster money because the advertisers will find that the advertising is effective, has a decent ROI, and pay for these clicks. It’s win-win. Everyone wins.

At first glance, it looks like the content publishers have few costs. It’s easy to do. Little money is needed for a little webhosting and a little time to write some content. But then we find it’s not enough. What happens when we want to expand?

Naturally, you want other people to write the content for you now. Then, that job is taken care of. What would motivate people to type? Discussions, you say. Message boards. Forums.

So we create forums. Members join, posts are made, advertising is shown, visitors clickthrough, sales are made. It looks clean on the surface.

But the more I deal in it, the more wasteful it seems. For example, a lot of bandwidth and server processing power is needed for dynamic content.

The bottleneck that arises with a forum is that people tend to go lazy on something that isn’t theirs. So we take everything a step further – they create their own forums. They do the promotion, content writing, and get their own members. They get their own communities. You set it up and host it for them. It’s a great win-win situation. Advertising pays for all of it, and maybe a little more. It depends how efficient we can get, how much advertising the users will tolerate or enjoy.

AdSense makes this easy, to a certain extent, because it has the potential to actually add to the content by serving relevant, interesting ads.

So now people are making their own forums, to generate their own content, to generate visitors and ads and clicks. What’s the next step?

When people can make their own forum hosting services? On a larger scale… ownership of the internet?

I’m just tossing out crazy ideas here.

What’s the next step in free content publishing?

And then again, the winner through all of this is, of course, the ad publishing company, which takes a cut of every click. In Google’s case, they don’t even reveal how much – allowing for minute adjustments without customer outcry. Clever. Let’s look ahead into the future. Where’s this taking us?

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