Profitability is not a right, it has to be earned · 2007-09-06 22:18 by Wladimir Palant
The first project I wanted to make money from became a failure. Yes, I got some customers, even one large company, but in the end what I earned wasn’t comparable to the effort I put into it. Who’s fault was it? Mine of course. I knew too little about how to get users interested and to sell my product, and, frankly, I didn’t even want to learn more — creating a good product was more important to me. Did I blame my customers for my failure, did I say that they should have been more interested, should have paid more? Of course not. The customers didn’t have any obligation towards me, they were free to choose, as always.
Most people will probably say that I am explaining obvious things here, and I agree. However, it seems that there are some who don’t get this simple truth of our society. They don’t know that there are always businesses that are profitable and there are those which are not. And nobody is obliged to keep unprofitable businesses afloat, which is a good thing — they have to die to make way for good business ideas. This is the self-regulation of the market, something that gives businesses an incentive to improve.
A website is a business. Often, its owner gives us content for free and hopes that in return we will click on the advertisements he puts up. This is not the most original business idea meaning that profitability depends very much on details. Obviously, the site’s content has to be useful and original, otherwise nobody will come to read it. But that’s not enough, he also needs to get people interested in his ads, otherwise he will not earn any money despite many visitors. So he has to make sure that the ads are relevant and presented in a way that is attractive to his customers. This is hard, but when you start a business you shouldn’t be looking for easy money. And annoying customers with ads to the point where they start blocking them is obviously the best way to get out of business.
And yet I see claims that web users are “obliged to pay website owners”. I see people saying that blocking ads is “thievery”. It seems that some people want to force bad business models on the customers and to reduce them to advertisement receivers who should no longer any choice. One of them called me a “communist” — and yet he didn’t seem to understand that free will is a very basic requirement for a working capitalistic society. I said it before and I can say it again: not every website on the Internet has the right to be profitable. And if more people understand this, maybe in a few years we will have fewer crappy sites that we (Internet users, their customers) have to pay directly or indirectly. Their death will make other, better websites possible.
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