"From the gut (and the heart)"
Editorials by Paul Olivier
Click trough banner advertisement and the black holes of internet commerce.

Well, it is a while ago that I did some editorial. Until now: 
The following announcement I put on our home page for some days.

ANNOUNCEMENT
This site is in the process of removing all parasitic click though banner advertisements. We advise all smaller sites to do the same. The large sites are getting these ads for free. They never have to pay the pennies they owe, because of the monthly minimum. Did you ever see free billboards or clickthrough's in magazines? More important: Your visitors don't like or use them anyway! Only accept prepaid ads!
It seems and sounds that I was angry. And I was, and I am, and we should! 
We should be angry about ourselves because we letting us be used without compensation. We need to change our views. Following that we need to change our policies and practices. What we have to recognize is that click through is ineffective from the viewpoint of the publisher, that is us, small and medium entities on the internet. We are wasting our time programming our pages with the unpaid ads of bigger or large companies. It is not useless to the advertiser, its highly cost effective; its almost for free! It functions for the advertiser just like newspaper, magazine or poster billboard advertisement, the kind he has to pay greatly for. Only this kind is on the condition of resulting sales or at least used to enter their store. That condition is one we should not anymore agree to. Could they get this kind of deal on Madison Ave? Its does not do anything for us. The time for that kind of revenue creation is over.
I like to go a little deeper into the reasons why.

There are several developments concerning on line behavior of the surfing masses. First the increased experience of the public. The number of novice surfers relative to the the existing crowd becomes smaller as time goes on toward and during temporary saturation. That is also part of why the box makers have a hard time to sell their product.
The increasing sophistication of the surfer who has to deal with the info overload and thus becomes more selective of what he or she clicks on. This devalues banner ads to the function of a brand - recognition - saturation tool. The advertisement market is down for large sites, as is said the stock value of for example Yahoo and other on advertisement depending companies indicates, because the client does not get the result from his on line ads anymore and is thus not willing to pay the same high price for new contract periods. Because of the diminished result of internet advertisement, companies have to find other ways to promote their products or services. That is why the email advertisement has taken off to the flight it has. 
The downturn of the economy is part of the equation. The public has become less eager to spend their dollars, except for the perceived essentials and this will continue to better times can be reached. This is depending on one great unknown variable: When will the venture financiers find the new "thing" to make them risk their capital and will they ever, like in the past dot-com boom?
An other reason is that large well established and trusted operations have become the gates to the shoppers promised land. If you are on AOL, you don't have to go anywhere; as a matter of fact, you are not going any where anyway; you are not even really on the internet. They are the ISP; your phone line and modem are directly connecting to them and that is it. It's all there. All the shops, services. Only for the porn they got to get out of there. MSN the same. With Amazon, Yahoo, etc.. you are at least on the internet. However all these for mentioned entities, relatively monopolize the gates to shoppers heaven. Our position should be: why should we be the worm holes leading to these black holes of commerce?
What should we do? 
To all singularities, we have to become black holes ourselves. How do we increase gravity forces? Just like the biggies do: fusing. At least make alliances. Promote each other. No unpaid ads for the existing black holes. We have to concentrate on what unique content we can offer, and accordingly make the alliances. Cross pollination. Exchange only: ads and links, even content with reference to source. No funneling anymore to the mammoths. They take care for themselves with multiple channels at their command: TV, printed media, DB's for email ads, etc.
Let me know what we can do for each other.

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