The ineffectual banner ad, created (indeed by the founders of this magazine) in 1994 – and never much liked by anyone in the marketing world – still remains the foundation of display advertising on the Web.
– Wired, The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet.
The print cover of the 18.09 issue of Wired reads “The Web is dead.” The turned pages – and the articles are page-turners - read:
The Web is dead.
Long live the Internet.
Two decades after its inception, the World Wide Web has been eclipsed by Skype, Netflix, peer-to-peer, and a quarter-million other apps.
Who's to Blame:
Us: As much as we love the open, unfettered Web, we're abandoning it for simpler, sleeker services that just work. Article by Chris Anderson.
Them: Chaos isn't a business model. A new breed of media moguls is bringing order – and profits – to the digital world. Article by Michael Wolff
– from Wired, The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet.
Excerpts from "Them," Wired, by Michael Wolf:
"According to Compete, a Web analytics company, the top 10 Web sites accounted for 31 percent of US pageviews in 2001, 40 percent in 2006, and about 75 percent in 2010. 'Big sucks the traffic out of small,' [Yuri] Milner says."
"Content companies…depend on advertising to fund the creation and promulgation of their wares…The Web was built by engineers, not editors. So nobody paid much attention to the fact that HTML-constructed Web sites – the most advanced form of online media and design – turned out to be a pretty p- – poor advertising medium."
"According to a 2009 comScore study, only 16 percent of users ever click on an ad, and 8 percent of users accounted for 85 percent of all clicks. The Web might generate some clicks here and there, but you had to aggregate millions and millions of them to make any money…"
"Even in the face of this downward spiral, the despairing have hoped. But then came the recession, and the panic button got pushed. Finally, after years of experimentation, content companies came to a disturbing conclusion. The Web did not work."
"Since the dawn of the commercial Web, technology has eclipsed content. The new business model is to try to let the content – the product, as it were – eclipse the technology."
The Web Is Dead? A Debate on the Wired site, not in the print magazine, features commentary from Tim O’Reilly, John Battelle, and Chris Anderson.
Handshake 2.0 – a content site – and sites like it – are competing for 25 percent of the pageviews not "sucked up" in the 75 percent of traffic heading to the top 10 Web sites.
If only 16 percent of users ever click on an ad, that means that 84 percent of Handshake 2.0's users – or users of a content site like it – would never click on an ad.
The Web may or may not be dead. But, given those numbers, advertising as a revenue model for a content site is dead.