Moving to a new financial model is difficult
Beyond targeted advertising
Ben Werdmuller


However, there isn’t one financial model that will work for a market that is massively large and contains endlessly diverse actors, each of whom has motivations and demands that vary wildly over time and context (and even with each transaction).

Subscriptions and micropayments are two valid models that should be offered universally (along with others) to accommodate buyers’ (consumers’) needs.

But the market doesn’t need or want to move beyond advertising. Free is better than not free, all else being equal. More importantly, if the options are “all free” or “all paid,” the “all free” option wins in the current market — but not because people don’t value content (they absolutely do) or won’t pay (they absolutely will).

The market does need to move beyond the current advertising model, which (as you illustrate) doesn’t work for consumers or content owners.

Fortunately, the current advertising model — a broadcast ad model — doesn’t work for advertisers either.

In fact, the only parties who are happy with the current ad model are the largest sellers of ads, Google and Facebook, and the adtech companies who sell tools and gizmos to the unhappy advertisers (to try to make them happy).

The market needs an ad model that

  • provides the benefits of advertising to both advertisers and consumers,
  • eliminates or reduces the costs of the current ad model to both advertisers and consumers, and
  • eases the consumer transition from “free” to paid by effectively positioning the products (content) and making it effortless to switch between “free” and paid consumption.