SmoothSpan Blog

For Executives, Entrepreneurs, and other Digerati who need to know about SaaS and Web 2.0.

Memo to Doc Searles: Why Not Pay For The No Advertising Nirvana?

Posted by Bob Warfield on September 28, 2007

Searles asks, “Why do we continue to take advertising for granted as the primary source of the the Bux DeLuxe required to fund technical, social and personal progress?”

It’s a good question.  ZDNet says its about shifting control from the sell side to the consumer “buy” side.  I have a more radical proposal.  I want to compete with advertisers for my own attention span.  Why can’t I pay the media to leave the advertising out?

Given the web is the medium, it is almost trivial for the owners of the media to publish two versions.  One would be advertising supported, but if you pay the amount your eyeballs are worth, you can have the media advertising free.  Wouldn’t that be nirvana? 

It’s not even very expensive when you do the math.  Using some of the math from Andrew Chen’s recent post on monetizing social networks, the cost for clickthroughs on Facebook is about $4 per thousand clickthroughs.  Now a clickthrough is a gold standard, and there is no way I’m going to do 1,000 clickthroughs if I’m paying not to see any ads, but work with me a moment people!

If I were the best possible ad consumer, how many clickthroughs might I do in a month on a service like Facebook or even Google?  It isn’t a thousand, no way.  Is it 100?  I think that’s generous, but that means it should cost me about 40 cents to escape ads entirely in Facebook.  They have something like 39 million users.  Let’s say 20% opted for no ads at $1 a month.  That gets us to the round number of $7.8M a month or $93M and change in annual revenue they’d take in from the program. 

Now they’ve only sold off 20% of their ad inventory, and they’ve sold the least desireable inventory at a premium price!  By that I mean they’re getting the equivalent dollars of a ton of clickthroughs from a group of people who are voting with their pocket book that they hate ads.  How can that not be a good thing?  Well, my guess is it would scare the heck out of advertisers.  I mean, in any con, consorting with the mark is general bad play.  But the smart advertisers will figure out that they were never going to reach those folks anyway.

How about it folks, would you pay to not see advertising?  Tell me what you think on my PollDaddy poll by clicking here.

Related Articles

Someone else proposing Facebook should let people pay to opt out of ads.

Stop the Advertising, Please!  IBM can quantify how this will turn out.

Make Publishing Plastic:  Remixing magazine content and ads.  But why mix the ads back in?!??

3 Responses to “Memo to Doc Searles: Why Not Pay For The No Advertising Nirvana?”

  1. […] McCollum wrote an interesting post today on Memo to Doc Searles: Why Not Pay For The No Advertising Nirvana?Here’s a quick […]

  2. […] to NOT see web adds…… Over on Smoothspan is this interesting post mooting the concept of allowing facebook customers to pay to NOT receive inline […]

  3. […] those surveyed would pay a small premium to have a service without advertising.  This is something I’ve proposed before, and I believe it would actually result in more revenue for services, not less.  A fee as low as […]

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