Businessweek Archives

Bob Garfield on the Internet, Boiling Frogs, and Money


Bob Garfield casts an eye on the new and old media landscape and his takeaway is dystopian. It’s a veritable laundry list of all that’s going wrong with advertising in the newspaper, magazine, cable, and oh yes, Internet business. Basically, the takeaway for why so many media properties aren’t prospering, whether it’s the NYTimes or huh, YouTube, is oversupply, he writes. Oversupply of stuff to read and be a part of, because of the easy publishing made possible by the Internet. And thus, an oversupply of advertising space, undercutting any models.

“Thus, the mantra: ‘We have the audience. All we need is a business model.’ As if adequate revenue were somehow guaranteed by physics or heavenly deity. It isn’t. I’ve pored over Isaac Newton and the Ten Commandments. There is no ‘Thou shalt monetize.’”

It’s the first time I remembering seeing the problem that’s affecting not just old media but new media stated this clearly. It’s a swipe at that overwhelming optimism about the Internet and that startles me. After watching the net for 15 years, there are cycles of optimism and we’re on the way down, it definitely feels like.


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