I just don’t understand why the idea of web properties sponsored by advertising continues to be news. In fact, this quote from Alicia Eler from RWW sums it up pretty well:
If you pay for a product, you’re a customer. If you don’t, you’re the product. On Facebook, you are the product.
It’s applicable to just about any product or service you do not pay for. From a product management standpoint, every feature introduced is intended to maximize the value of the product. If the relationship is such that you’re paying, then the product is attempting to improve its value to you.
Conversely, if you are the product, then value is being squeezed from you. Incidentally, the advertisers are the consumer in this model. If you think that’s nefarious or shady, try an alternative. And if you find that hard to swallow, remember that the juice presser that’s squeezing you is deliberately very hard to leave.
Based on John Walkenbach’s prophesyinglast year, it seemed like Amazon was really headed down the road of free Kindles. However, this new development makes far more sense; if the consumer’s perceived value of the device continues to fall, and Amazon’s more interested in selling the higher-margin e-books, then it could be conceivable that Amazon’s looking for a way to subsidize the continuing hardware costs with an advertising play.
While this play is sensible from Amazon’s standpoint, I do pine for the days when we weren’t inundated with ads. It seems that all sorts of mediums and devices are being saturated with them, when I actually crave a simple, straightfoward, elegant, and uninterrupted experience that’s free of them. Why can’t there be another way: to pay for no ads, no interruptions, no distractions?
Conclusion: Seems like the day when the Kindle (in its current form) is free isn’t too far off. But, does it have to come with the price of ever-increasing ads vying for our eyes?