Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fight for Control of Your Internet Experience

There is an interesting thing going on that I predicted a while back. There's a fight for who gets to present your Internet to you and who gets the ad impression. You probably have seen glimpses of it.

For example, you probably have noticed that sometimes when you click on Facebook there is a little toolbar at the top that says that you were directed to the page from FB from a certain person. They were playing around with it a couple months back. They were invading sites outside of the Facebook domain. Just a couple pixels at the top, but it is invasion, which is why they probably removed it recently. Imagine a world where the person who links to you controls your user experience.

Then there are some of the URL redirection services like tinyURL, bit.ly or ad.ly. On some of them, when they redirect they had an ad on the top. So even though you are now on the NY Times, there is an ad at the top from another service. They have been moving away from it lately, but there is experimentation.

I mentioned one example of intentionally poor design in Internet Explorer on my recent post about Microsoft. They intentionally take advantage of every typo and mis-step as an ad opportunity.

But as I found out this morning, there are a lot more players in the Internet chain that can take advantage of tricks like this. Today my ISP, Time Warner, wanted a piece of the typo pie too. My Firefox browser only corrects "yahoo" to "www.yahoo.com" if it first gets a 404 error from the initial request. But the ISP can do that work and just return a valid result off the initial request. So Time Warner wants a piece. Where else could they insert themselves? Couldn't they alter the HTML and create a frame just like Facebook?

There are many creative ways to make lots of incremental revenue based on the linking structure and inefficiencies and errors of the Internet. I've got a couple creative ideas, but the point is that every link has value. Value to the place you are linking to and value to the property you are linking from.

Here's another example. You may notice that every link on Facebook or on Google is not really a pure link to the website. If there is a link to the "www.NYTimes.com" when you click it, it actually activates a Javascript or other service on Google or Facebook to record the click, before sending you off to where you are going. Why is this important? For Google, recording what people are clicking is key to optimizing their algorithms. It started with optimizing ad clicks, then the same approach is being used for organic search. For Facebook, they similarly want to know what to show and whether that Fan page of yours is spewing spam, or links that people care about it. They prioritize good links in your feed to make your feed better.

The point is that there is a wealth of info from augmenting the simple version of the Internet, controlling data and controlling the display experience. The question, of course is what's next? Where are there unrealized revenue opportunities in the existing structure? Could there be a way to get pennies, millions of times a day? There are...

1 comment:

Thomas said...

Truth be told! Veritas lux mea!



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