More Advertising Madness

I read somewhere that a good blog should have a consistent set of themes.

So I guess one of mine has become the idea that advertising dollars simply cannot support the entire internet and all of Web 2.0. I feel pretty certain about this, yet every day I read about some great new venture that some famous blogger (which is sort of an oxymoron) who refuses to link to me thinks will one day be bigger than all four Elvises (Presley, Costello, Grbac and Dutton) and whose only meaningful revenue source is from advertising.


First we have all of Web 2.0.

Then AOL tosses in the towel and decides that since nobody wants a closed internet anymore, it will bet on ad revenue to keep its teetering boat upright. The magical $81M in ad revenue notwithstanding, it won’t work long term. There are only four ways to get rich legally: by birth, by gift, by doing something few others can do and by selling a product. AOL was not born rich, will not be given money because it is already public (no greater fool money for you, Mr. AOL), is now entering a mature market dominated by Yahoo and others, and its product no longer sells.

Of course you can say the same thing about most of Web 2.0, and I have. Over and over.

Meanwhile, TIVO, which is still running around like a chicken with its head cut off, has one-upped itself in the bad idea derby by adding ads on demand to last years’ bad idea champion, searchable ads. It’s like the time Raina and I tried in vain to convince the kids that vegetables were actually a treat. It may sound good, but even a three year old knows it’s a head fake.

Last but not least, Jake takes a page from Stowe‘s book (and apparently a hat from his closet) and wants to become a toddling advertisement for $10,000 a month. If he sells a month of ads he will have made more profit than Stowe and all of Web 2.0 combined.

When the advertising house of cards collapses, there is going to be a lot of carnage.

Why Scoble is Wrong About Second Life’s Kid Policy

Scoble posts about the Second Life rule prohibiting anyone under 18 from using the regular version of Second Life. As Pathfinder Linden, Second Life’s internet ambassador, explained in a Comment to one of my prior posts about the sin-tricity of Second Life, there is a separate Second Life for 13-17 year olds, where no one less than 13 or older than 17 is allowed.

Scoble understands the reason for the rules, but he says he doesn’t like them:

The thing is, I don’t necessarily buy into the rules of society, or the rules of Linden Labs. If I don’t mind my son getting into a Poker game, or seeing a virtual sex act, isn’t that my right as a parent to let my son experience those things?

No. Our puritanical society has set up rules and regulations about such things. If you enter a Las Vegas casino you aren’t allowed to let your kids sit down and play backjack. At least not until they are 21.

I do think the rules suck, though. This is a virtual world. Why do we need to live with first-world rules?

The problem, of course, is that they can’t let Robert’s kids in without letting everyone else’s kids in. And while I have never thought of myself as a Puritan, I don’t want my kids running around in Second Life. Sure, I might one day decide that one or more of my kids are responsible enough to be exposed to this sort of thing, but the only manageable approach with kids’ access is all or none. To try to set up some sort of a parental approval process would be a nightmare. Kids would hang around looking for a willing grownup to sign them in much like we used to hang around outside a convenience store looking for an 18 year old to buy us a six-pack.

If Second Life didn’t have and enforce this rule, thousands and thousands of kids would find a way into Second Life without their parents’ knowledge or permission and you would have a completely unacceptable mix of adults (who unfortunately always seem to gravitate to the R rated stuff- or worse) and kids (who should not be allowed to see or participate in that sort of stuff).

Sure, the lawyers probably told Second Life they’d better put some protections in place, because sadly the internet is a dangerous place for kids. But the fact that Second Life has some controls that may actually work, as opposed to the smoke and mirrors used by MySpace, is a good thing, not a bad thing.

Scoble, here’s all you need to ask yourself to see it my way: if the internet had existed when we were kids, how much time would we have spent trying secretly to find the very stuff we now want to keep from our kids?

I have no doubt that Scoble’s son is a responsible kid who can handle Second Life. But I bet he has some friends who are not and could not. Open the Second Life gates and there would be a ton of other kids running around who are not and could not. Not to mention the kids who aren’t really kids.

Second Life actually needs to do more, not less, to keep our kids out of the adult Second Life and to keep interlopers out of the teen Second Life.

They aren’t creating the patterns of behavior, they are simply reacting to them.

More on the Non-Link Movement

In yesterday’s edition of the RanchoCast podcast, I talked at length about this new movement in the blogosphere begun by a few self-important bloggers who belive that they don’t need to link out to anyone else because linking somehow reduces their influence and credibility.

I think that is about the stupidest thing I have ever heard and if you’d like to hear why, but don’t want to sit through some great music, here’s an excerpt from that portion of the podcast.

RanchoCast – May 5, 2006 Edition

I did a new podcast tonight. I think it’s the best one we have ever done.

The theme is the Girl Power Show. Lots of great obscure music, most of it by female musicians and singers.

I played some gems by Holly Golightly, the Greenhornes, Neko Case, Bonnie Bishop, Rico Bell and others. I ended the show with a great jazz/blues jam by Rashaan Roland Kirk.

You can also hear my take on these self-important bloggers who don’t think they need to link to anyone.

Three Things Meme

Mathew tagged me with the Three Things Meme, so here goes.

The three things are supposed to be things that you would like to see occur in your lifetime. Some folks mention the important, serious things, like curing cancer, world peace and making the world safe for all children (which would be my serious three), but I’m going to follow Mathew’s lead and give my less serious three:

1) Wake Forest win a national championship in college basketball.

2) The remaining members of Led Zeppelin tour again and come to Houston.

3) XM and Sirius satellite radio merge so I can get Sirius channel 14 on XM.

I think the chances of the above happening are 3%, 60% and 75%

I’m tagging Mike Miller, OmegaMom and Rick Mahn.

Blogs Without Links Are Not Blogs

They are the creations of arrogance and vanity.

linksThere seems to be a movement among the self-impressed in the blogosphere to toss up walls around themselves to avoid having to interact with the unwashed masses. I don’t know who came up with this brilliant plan, but if it gets legs, it will set the blogosphere back by years.

First we have Steve Gillmor saying that bloggers shouldn’t link.

Now I read via Richard Querin’s blog that Seth Goldstein says:

Strong web bloggers no longer link.

Somebody please tell me this is a joke. Or satire that I’m too tired to detect. I simply cannot believe that anyone who can type words on a keyboard could write something that ludicrous.

This is the sort of arrogant bullshit that makes me want to stop blogging altogether. I am 100% certain that I wouldn’t spend a nanosecond hanging out with anyone arrogant and naive enough to believe that they are the only ones with anything useful to say in the real world, so why would I want to do it in the blogosphere?

Just because a few curious onlookers read your online diary does not mean you are in any position “to shape thought.” Take away the conversations that are engendered by right-thinking bloggers and the only thoughts that we are shaping is the thought that we are a bunch of geeks who ought to step away from the computer and go outside.

Have some of these bloggers really convinced themselves that they are rock stars? Are they about to start showing up in People Magazine? Anyone who has anything resembling a life would laugh their heads off at the prospect of some nerd trying to claim that because his online diary is read by a a few thousand out of the 6.5 billion people on earth, he has somehow arrived to the point where he can sit atop his pile of slide rules and pocket protectors and preach to the masses, without the need to join in anything resembling a conversation.

I am utterly blown away by the absurdity of what I am reading these days.

If this is where the blogosphere is going, count me out.

Top 10, Web 2.0 Style

Here’s the Web 2.0 Developer’s version of Guy Kawasaki’s Top 10.

top101. We can get Mike Arrington to favorably review our product.

2. If we can finish the under construction page on our website, we’ll get listed in Catagioriz.

3. We can hire Stowe Boyd to be our walking billboard.

4. We’re confident that our product will make lots of money somehow, even though it’s free.

5. Assuming that each user only tells three additional people, we will have an installed base of five million non-paying users by the end of the first year.

6. Google is really excited about placing Adsense ads with us.

7. Conservatively, the total available online advertising available for our website is $50 billion.

8. Even if it’s not $50 billion, we will have sold ourselves to Google or Yahoo by the time the advertising dries up.

9. Robert Scoble really loves what we’re doing and as soon as he gets back from this week’s blogging haitus, he’ll give us many links.

10. Our product is better than the other hundred or so free products that do substantially the same thing.

and, last, but not least

11. Our product is not dependent on online advertising revenue for most of its revenue, it just looks that way.