Then it was yesterday’s announce that Instagram, a Facebook property, would soon have the right to sell all of your photos, without giving you a dime, or even notice that they’ve been sold.
And now we hear that Facebook will be starting to show auto-play video ads, that start running as soon as you open the page, and they’ll be running in your news feed.
Because nothing says “hate me” more than putting an auto-play ad on your Web site. ABC News does it a lot, and it’s obnoxious. We ban those ads on our site, but some advertisers still manage to slip them through.
The thing is, it’s getting harder and harder to make decent money from online advertising. Some people I talk to think online advertising is dead, permanently, and that Web sites that used to rely on advertising, like the media and blogs, but also places like Facebook, need to reinvent themselves or they won’t be around in a year or two.
And they’re not entirely wrong.
Advertising revenue died when Lehman Brothers collapsed, and it’s only come back so-so in the past year or two. In the meantime, competition is on the rise, not just from other media sites, but from other sites that people use to peruse our content before deciding whether to come to our site, like Twitter and Facebook. So you have an ever-more-difficult search for eyeballs mixed with a permanently crippled advertising climate. What’s your alternative? For some, like Facebook, it’s the online version of fracking – something that can squeeze out that last hard-to-get advertising dollar – auto-play ads.
We don’t ever plan on going there, if I can help. But I’ve certainly gotten more sympathetic to the need for advertising, and less annoyed when someone else’s site loads a bit more slowly because of the ads. I undersand how hard it is to make a living online. But auto-play ads? Really?
I’ll stick with asking you all nicely to please donate to the blog so we can keep the obnoxious ads quiet :)