return Home

The founders of the Internet have grown up. Isn't it time the Internet did the same?

I was reading an amusing article in This is Money over the weekend that I suspect many mothers and fathers (and grand-parents) will understand. Nothing is more fatal to parental authority than having to ask the offspring for computer help. 

 

The social network ()

Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake in The Social Network

 

And it’s true. Rarely do I have the opportunity to hold one over my wonderful mum… but the computer, the glorious computer, presents me with that rare opportunity for the apprentice to become the master!

My mum rushes to the tired old defence of: “You’re lucky, it’s only because you happen to have been born in the thick of the computer age that dealing with these problems comes as second nature to you.”

Are we lucky?

What’s interesting is there is another side to this argument: we have grown up in the online barter economy, but never actually realised that we were bartering ourselves.

My mother has sent letters in the post, made calls from a landline and printed photos to store in binders. All costing her money. Some of you reading this will even laugh at the concept of renting films or buying CDs!

All these services were digitalised, legally or illegally, and offered at a time when a whole generation was at its most cash strapped. I remember huddling around a tiny laptop in my first year at university, watching the latest episode of The OC on DC++ (essentially an illegal precursor to Netflix).

Or leaving my computer on overnight to download a new album from Napster (abused precursor of Spotify, set up by the famous Sean Parker). Those that created, or could find and access such services, were not deemed as thieves but savvy users who could bend the web to their wills like Neo bends the Matrix (really showing my age with that reference).

To us, the web was open access. We had never been told otherwise, and it never crossed our minds that this was little different to the fake DVDs or sunglasses that we are all quick to turn our noses up at. Why pay for a service that was being offered for free by someone else?

But the times, they are a changin’…

The founders of the first Internet companies are growing up, and the web is growing up with them. Seamlessly symbolised with Sean Parker’s transition from Napster bad-boy to board member of tech unicorns Facebook and Spotify.

But what is really fascinating to observe is that users of the web are growing up too. As we start to understand the barter exchange we unwittingly entered into, we start to value ourselves and our data versus the services we are accessing.

Advertisers and publishers need to ensure that there is a fair value exchange for their consumers, or expect to lose them.

 

More like this

The warning signs are there, but are we looking?

Media buyers should be more like pension managers

  • Capitalising on the 'content + community + commerce' trifecta

    Back in 2014, Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trend Report carried the theme of “re-imagining” throughout her presentation - from messaging and communications to services and money. When she spoke about re-imagining verticals, she shared how more and more companies are adopting an internet trifecta where success is defined as a combination of a critical mass of content + community + commerce.  

    19th Jul 2019 Opinion
  • The real reason why newspapers are losing to Facebook

    There’s a major problem facing communities everywhere — local news is losing the competition for advertisers to the duopoly (Facebook and Google). These two firms account for around 70 per cent of all digital ad spending globally, which has forced closures and cutbacks and severely threatened the future of journalism.

    20th Jun 2019 Opinion
  • The Digital Edition's Quinceañero: 15 lessons over 15 years

    In November 2018, we co-hosted an Insider event with FIPP in Argentina and Chile about the role and value of digital editions. Given the Latin American venue, I decided to use a local coming-of-age tradition - a quinceañero -  the 15th birthday milestone when a girl transitions from a child into a young woman in the community.

    11th Apr 2019 Opinion
  • Turning your events data into valuable information

    The acceptance of the need to turn data into valuable information has reached a tipping point and will accelerate in the next three years, writes Thomas Howie, COO of events software platform Evessio.

    11th Feb 2019 Opinion
Go to Full Site