Would you like fries with that headline?
29 August 2000 Edition|
The online news industry is facing a rather significant problem... how do you
make money out of something (news) which is being given away for free
on thousands of websites around the globe?
A couple of years ago such sites would have replied with a resounding chorus
of the word "advertising" -- but that's no longer the case. The unfortunate
fact is that it often costs more to create and deliver a page to a web-surfer
than the advertising on that page earns.
There's a massive glut of banner advertising on the Internet and the revenues
being returned for banner space have drooped from as much as ten cents per
view just three years ago to something less than a hundredth of that figure
So what are the news sites going to do?
Simple -- they're going to sell stuff -- and this means that your daily
serving of news will soon be accompanied by a rather significant side-salad
of products and services being flogged through on-site e-commerce.
Research indicates that news providers are seen to have an aura of respectability
and engender a level of trust that is ideally suited to transacting online
sales -- after all, CNN and the BBC wouldn't rip you off would they?
Of course this might spell bad news for the likes of Amazon.com and other
dedicated e-commerce sites unless they can get a piece of the action.
I quietly predicted this shift by news sites towards embracing e-commerce
a couple of years ago -- and now it appears that it's coming to pass with a
hiss and a roar. In the past week, both the BBC and the Australian ABC have
announced moves that confirm their intention to use e-commerce as the critical
component in their quest for online profits. Now just watch the rest
But what do you think? Is this the best compromise for web-surfers? Does it
make sense to sell golf balls and clubs on the same page as a story about
The King is Dead, Long Live The King?
Most of those reading this column will be aware that not so long ago there
was a major routing of the ISOCNZ council in an attempt to return power
to the members.
The move was largely seen as a success with dozens of proxy votes being
used to oust much of the old-school and insert some more sensible replacements.
However, it seems that the expectations of many have not been fulfilled -- as
the actions of a few continue to spoil it for the many.
Recently, Alan Brown, currently still the subject of a defamation suit which
has the defacto backing of ISOCNZ -- much to the displeasure of many members, was
booted off the society's mailing list for exercising his unique form of
bluntness and strong opinions. Considering this to be a mere technicality,
Brown continued to post his comments using some simple methods for circumventing
the list moderator's attempts to silence him.
When it became clear that Brown was not without his supporters, and that the
very act of black-listing him had angered other members, ISOCNZ then decided
to turn off a gateway that allows the list to run as both an email list and
a usenet newsgroup.
When you consider that ISOCNZ is supposed to be in favour of freedom of speech
and the use of the Internet to facilitate that freedom -- their recent actions
show that the more things change, the more they remain the same -- and that
the best efforts of the many can still be ankle-tapped by the selfish and
ill-conceived actions of a few with a rather inflated perception of their
own judgement and importance.
Domain names -- some are really valuable -- and some aren't. Unfortunately
there appear to be a growing list of people who can't tell one from the other.
A month or so ago
Aardvark reported that the name
NewZealand.com was being flogged for a cool US$7 million and now it appears
4 your favourite four-letter word
is on the block for just $50K. Come on Ross -- aren't you dreaming just a little
It looks as if the fools amongst us who might want to spend huge sums on
such domains are becoming spoilt for choice eh?
As always, your feedback is welcomed.