Free and ad-free: it’s unsustainable. Get over yourselves

I happened upon a tweet from @gazbeirne recently that read:

Has the person who decided to start putting adverts over the bottom half of youtube videos been found and shot yet?

I suspect the answer is no. And rightly so. For too long, the general public has been getting internet stuff for free, ignorant of the cost of providing the service and hell-bent not to pay anything towards it.

People are up in arms at The Times’ proposal to start charging for its content. But if that is what they must do to sustain their service, then so be it. Whether it’s the right commercial model—if there is such a concept of right or wrong in this space—remains to be seen. But you have to respect them for trying.

And the same goes for Google, despite my belief, one growing among my peers, that Google’s Do No Evil mantra is poppycock. Providing YouTube content to people is not free, irrespective of whether the content was a rights-free video shot by your mate. There is technology and people to pay for to allow that content to be served to the public.

Now if you asked the average YouTube visitor to pay for content à la Times, then they’d most certainly say no. (Actually, they’d most likely grunt judging by the state of the comments they leave on videos.) But ask them to pay for it indirectly through the medium of advertising and you have yourself an angry Gaz Beirne.

The free, ad-free world is unsustainable. Get over it. And along the way, get over yourselves.

Comments

2 Responses to “Free and ad-free: it’s unsustainable. Get over yourselves”

  1. N is for…news « I is for…. on June 28th, 2010 17:50

    […] note: On the “idealism” of free content, see the lovely, down-to-earth and spot-on post by @Danossira – “Get over yourselves”!) Possibly related posts: (automatically […]

  2. Christine Morris on June 28th, 2010 18:27

    I can see your point actually when you write it that way, but some sites have taken it to the extreme (Ugh “Cash”able for example) and it completely puts me off them, I won’t go back.

    Additionally a lot have become so greedy. If the Times want to charge, then charge fairly. I always purchase and pay the wordpress plug in developers, or folks who’s services I use because I respect them as developers and the time they took to make my life easier – but they ask for a donation, a fair price which I think makes total sense.

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