This title is part of the cookie notice banner that is greeting you to my website when you come here for the first time. It describes the foundation on which I want to build this blog from now on in a very clear way. People realize more and more that the idea of free content on the internet only works so far, because it is our data that is the currency on which this ecosystem is running — and we have zero control about it.
I believe that the status of the internet and more specifically content monetization is approaching a tipping point. Reaching this point will induce changes regarding how content is shared and consumed. I want my blog to become an example of how much better things could work for creators and users alike if things were to change a bit.
The Internet is Craving for Less, Not More
Let’s face it. The internet has in many ways outgrown the human capacity to perceive and process information. Every second there is probably more content created and uploaded, than one person could read, watch, and listen to in one lifetime.1
Now with keeping this unimaginable huge amount of content in mind, let’s recall why all of this is possible in the first place. At the end of each piece of content on the internet, there is someone who created it by committing time and effort. Since we all know that time is not the currency that lets us buy food in this world, every creator also needs to find a way of monetizing his efforts somehow. In 99% of cases, the solution to this problem is being solved with advertising.
Ad networks like Google’s AdSense and others have made it fairly easy for every independent content creator running their own website or uploading videos to YouTube to embed advertisements to make some money. The problem of this is, that in many cases it disturbs the user experience tremendously. As a result, almost half of all internet users globally use an ad blocker.2 On the other hand, content creators lose what made creating content on the internet appeal to them in the first place — independency.
Internet companies and advertisers are the ones holding only benefits on their side of the balance sheet. Both users and creators have to make sacrifices in this equation. Users have to face not only content overload, but also ad overload, and creators have to create content that not only satisfies their audience, but also the advertisers. It’s an absolute conflict of interest.
User Experience is King
The result of this conflict of interest is a situation as we have it today, in which content is created solely for the purpose of creating as much ad or affiliate revenue as possible. Website owners are willingly implementing all sorts of methods to track as much of their users’ data as possible, to provide big ad networks with the information required to track users from website to website, to learn all about their behavior, and to get them to buy products and services at every corner of the web.
We all know the preaching of the phrase “content is king”, that has been circulating around the echo chambers of the web since its inception and increasingly since the emergence of social media networks. But let’s be honest — all it has ever really meant was “content that creates ad revenue is king”.
All of this is happening at the cost of the users, who more and more got reduced to become nothing more than a metric in an analytics dashboard and a KPI to measure — even when people nowadays call them “followers” or “community”.
But things will change. The barrier to create content on the internet has come down so much, that we are facing an absolute flood of content now. Therefore, creating content is no longer enough to get anyone’s attention. With 2020 approaching, I foresee the beginning of a new era, whose winners will be the ones focusing on user experience.
The Rise of New Web Monetization Methods
Luckily, new ways of web monetization are emerging just in time for this new era to equip content creators with the necessary tools needed to come out as winners.
Especially the realm of cryptocurrencies and related developments seems to hold tremendous potential. One example to point out is Coil, which I integrated into this website and consider to be a game changer in terms of content monetization.
The opportunity to accomplish an internet in which creators and users could gain back the upper hand over platform companies and advertisers is within hand’s reach. Will you seize it?
Looking forward to your comments below this article.
I create bonus content to complement my articles. Unlike a paywall system, it doesn’t disturb your reading experience and you will always get to read full articles on my blog. No exceptions.
To read my bonus content, you will have to sign up to Coil. For $5 a month it will allow you to support an infinite number of content creators including me, instead of having to subscribe to many individual ones through platforms like Patreon. It’s a better business model for the web, saving you as a reader from ads and data tracking and allowing creators to monetize their work independent from ad networks. You can read more about it here.