Let’s all say it together: the way to make money on the internet is not to screw over your users.
Once more: if you have to make things worse for users in order to make money, maybe your business plan sucks.
First, I read a little more about this ad.ly thing. How in the wide world of sports can any portion of the legitimate internet embrace, applaud or permit what looks to me like nothing more than organized, high tech spam? Seriously, if I am going to un-follow someone for tossing another idiotic multi-level marketing scheme in my Twitter feed, why in the world would I accept blatant ads from people? Legitimize an in-Tweet ad-based economy within Twitter and you will be overrun by a horde of eyeball prospectors whose sole or substantial objective is to entice eyeballs inside their tent in the name of money. If the philosophy isn’t enough to make you say “hell no,” then spend about one second considering the impossible logistics. Twitter can’t keep the spammers off the line now. Imagine how bad it will get if in-Tweet ads gets blessed by Twitter. You’ll see a ton of automated links to stuff we’ve already seen, purely as a set-up for the ad-hosting, money seeking Tweet. Spam may kill Twitter as things stand now. Why make it easier?
If you still aren’t convinced, then remember that Tweets are short, 140 character posts, most of which are either completely un-newsworthy or link to content elsewhere. If you want to pay people for Tweets, then you better pay them for links. And recommendations. And good karma. Word of mouth is the benefit of a good product, not the product itself. If I tell my friends to watch a particular TV show, I don’t expect to get paid for it. And if I did, the value of my suggestion would be nil.
In sum, this in-Tweet ad business may just be the worst idea ever. Other than this one.
Microsoft has proven that it can’t get its ducks in the same zip code where the internet is concerned. So rather than create something that gets the herd to migrate voluntarily, it is apparently considering trying to buy the herd via some thankfully doomed from the start deal with News Corp, the other big company that doesn’t get the internet. Here’s the thing: people are going to use Google, that’s why it’s a verb. If you take your content out of the Google search results, people won’t see it. Merchants go where the people are, not the other way around.
And if you pay someone else to take their content out of those search results, I, for one, will consciously avoid whatever corral you’re trying to force me into. That’s just not OK. If you want eyeballs, create something people want to see, and make it easy for them to find it. There’s way too much internet content supply to artificially manipulate the demand. So don’t try to gain customers by making things harder. It won’t work.
The things that make money are the ones that are good for users. Not unnecessary obstacles that only serve to leverage off of them.