Content Suppliers are the underprivileged sector of the Internet. They all lose money (even sites that offer basic, standardized goods – books, CDs), except sites proffering sex or tourism. No user seems to be grateful for the effort and resources invested in creating and distributing content. The recent breakdown of traditional roles (between publisher and author, record company and singer, etc.)
The direct access the creative artist is gaining to its paying public may change this attitude of ingratitude, but hitherto there are scarce signs of that. Moreover, it is either quality of presentation (which only a publisher can afford) or ownership and (often shoddy) dissemination of content by the author. A really qualitative, fully commerce-enabled site costs
5,000,000 USD, excluding site maintenance and customer and visitor services. Despite these heavy outlays, site designers are constantly criticized for lack of creativity or too much creativity. Content purveyors and creators are asked more and more, and they are exploited by intermediaries, hitchhikers, and other parasites. This is all an off-shoot of the ethos of the Internet as a free content area.
Most users like to surf (browse, visit sites) the net without reason or goal in mind. This makes it difficult to apply to the web traditional marketing techniques. What is the meaning of “targeted audiences” or “market shares” in this context? If a surfer visits sites that deal with aberrant sex and nuclear physics in the same session – what to make of it?
Moreover, the public and legislative backlash against the gathering of surfer’s data by Internet ad agencies and other websites – haled to growing ignorance regarding the Internet users’ profile, biography, habits, preferences, and dislikes.
“Free” is a keyword on the Internet: it used to belong to the US Government and many universities. Users like information, with emphasis on news and data about new products. But they do not like to shop on the net – yet. Only 38% of all surfers purchased 1998. It would seem that users will not pay for content unless it is unavailable elsewhere or qualitatively rare or made rare. One way to “rarely” content is to review and rate it.