Professor Dave Winer has posted one of the most convincing articles about the sunset of online advertisement in his blog
The idea behind his theory is that online review sites and blogs will make online advertisement completely ineffective by offering something that advertisements could never offer, something that, as Kevin Kelly stated in his brilliant essay Better than Free cannot be easily duplicated digitally: TRUST and HONESTY.
How many people actually trust the information they see in an advertisement? I know i don’t.
In this web 2.0 world, most online-savvy people check online reviews by other buyers and users in sites they trust, to see if a product is worth buying or not. I have made buying decisions for items ranging from cars to CDs based entirely on online reviews, and i am happy to say that in 99% of all purchases, i am satisfied with the decisions i’ve made. There are hundreds if not thousands of specialized websites and blogs that thrive on reviewing products by blogger and users alike.
Advertisements will never offer the sense of tapping into the collective sense of trust, the way blogs and web forums can.
As a record label owner, where will would my advertisement money be better spent? buying online banners or sending out copies to targeted bloggers, online zines, podcasters and online radio stations?
The answer is obvious.
The truthfullness of Professor Winer’s predictions can be corroborated by the way lowly scammers are now advertising their shady products.
By my own calculations, acai berry weight-loss product peddlers have spent millions of dollars creating fake online blog sites and buying google ads for sites like helensdiet.com, lindas-diet.com, juliasweightlossblog.com, kristinsdiet.com, JuliasWeightLossBlog.com, bbysdietjournal.com, abbysdietjournal.com, ashleysdietblog.com, etc etc.
Anyone who surfs the web has seen at least one of those “Flat stomach Rule: Obey” ads. They are everywhere!
I am sure people have been scammed to the tune of millions of dollars to the point to where the FTC is now (supposedly) investigating those websites.
The truth is that people trust bloggers and fellow consumers more than they do emarketers and advertisers, whether we like it or not. There is a reason why shady businesses are not spending millions of dollars in traditional online advertisements: because they don’t work!
How else would you explain the fact that these dubious businesses are spending a lot of time and effort into creating domains and building fake blogs instead of paying online ads?