Sunday, 13 April 2008


Ban this word: "monetize"

Remember the "dot-com bubble" of the late 90s? The word I associate with the time is "eyeballs". As a slightly jealous techie I saw stacks of companies build up their paper worth on the currency of eyeballs - the number of people visiting a site. That worth then tumbled as the eyeball-to-cash exchange rate fell through the floor. I thought it'd be some time before we again saw so many web businesses built around the sole income stream of advertising.

I was wrong. It's happening again. The difference is that this time there's a word for it. In order to pretend they're doing something clever, people who like to use the phrase "web 2.0" call this "monetizing". I cringe every time I hear it. (What's wrong with "make money from"?)

I still fear reliance on the advertising model. One obvious alternative is to charge for access. Perhaps the reason that's rarely done is because it results in lower audiences, and deeply embedded in the egotistical heart of many website owners is the classic dot-com falsehood: that a good website is a popular one.

The financial bubble burst, but we still seem to hold onto the emotional one.

Posted by pab at 20:20 | Comments will be back later in the year. Please email me instead!