Listening to Mac Geek Gab #266. Dave Hamilton had a position on the new Reader function in Apple’s Safari browser which replicates the function of the Readability bookmark let that I’ve been using for a while and loving. He was very clear that he thought such tools “steal” from content providers comparing it to shoplifting and rejecting the idea that is was more like skipping commercials with Tivo. Personally I fall closer to the Tivo camp.
There have been many technology efforts to control the way in which an individual may use content. DRM is the most obvious one but there have been many protocol and regulatory changes that have attempts to accomplish this. The Broadcast Flag is one that keeps rattling around in my head and may be coming back in another form.
In the end this is attempts to create a technology solution to a people problem. On this I complexly agree with Dave – people think content is free and it isn’t. Unfortunately it has been the content providers that have pushed this point and get offended when if bites them. On one had they have been unable to gain a direct revenue model (consumer pays) and rely on a secondary revenue market (consumer watches, brands pay for ads, ads bias consumer behaviour, brands earn revenue).
Some providers have already questioned this model like this article from ReadWriteWeb; “Financial Times Expects Direct Payments” I already pay (voluntarily) for many of my ‘free’ podcasts.
So back to the original discussion, is accepting Ads prior/along with content something viewers should expect to ‘give up’ to keep content free? The existence of RSS feeds have already seen this battle of full versus excerpted feeds. The Vancouver Sun does that with their feeds that combined with a slow loading website caused me to drop them from my feeds and resort to a Google News Alerts instead. Most sources are prepared to provide an RSS feed which allows viewing of content without viewing the entire page.
I think part of my view is shaped by the fact that Advertising is just Voodoo to me. I really can’t get past the idea that if everyone stopped advertising the market wouldn’t be much different from the way it is today. Probably pretty niave but that is what is at the heart of my attitude toward it.
No matter what technology you try, you may get the Ads to me, but you can’t make me care….