No Business Model is Forever

I’m guilty. I often assume that how things are today is how they will
be in two, five, and ten years, especially in regard to business. Its
just easier to think this way because a majority of major companies
will still be powers in their industries. But just ten years ago,
Google was working for Yahoo, Enron was a growing energy company, WorldCom
was a long distance company, and Wall St had half a dozen investment

So when I read other blog posts like Umair Haque’s How to Challenge Google (and Win) it reminds me that no business model is
infallible. To recap the post, it says Google separates itself by
providing the most useful and valuable ads to potential customers. The
payment model is contingent on Google delivering on this promise. It is
a variable rate model. What is significant about the post is that it
looks at the issue of ads from the end user perspective. There are lots
of software options that block ads in the web browser. But what these
companies find is that it isn’t the ads themselves that’s the problem,
its ads that aren’t interesting. Ads through Google assumes that I need
to eventually buy something so they force feed me reminders. But many
of these ads are just trying to improve the rate of coincidence. A
change might occur where the consumer determines usefulness, rather
than relevance. Here is Haque in his own words:

What’s going at Ad Blocker Plus is the beginning of the End of the Google Era.
Ad Blocker Plus is on the verge of turning into an open network that
(finally) does the same as Google does: massively boost ad relevance,
stripping out the useless junk — by factoring in whether or not people
find ads useful or not.

Ad Blocker plus is, almost unwittingly, making the world’s first
reverse ad network. It doesn’t aggregate more ads to push — it
aggregates people’s preferences about ads, so better ads can be chosen.

Google revolutionized the ad industry by waging peace. Imperfectly,
certainly. Yet, when consumer preferences were factored into the value
of ads, the result was disruptively more relevant ads. Advertisers,
publishers — and, finally, people — were all better off. Now, Ad
Blocker Plus is on the verge of waging an economically more valuable
kind of peace: a more open, broader peace, which can boost relevance
more significantly.

Imagine a button underneath every ad at every newspaper, magazine,
and blog that said: “tell us this ad sucks.” That’s a simple but
powerful way to begin waging peace, turning Google’s monopoly on
tomorrow into Microsoft’s monopoly on yesterday.

Let’s zoom out even more. Imagine a button at every supermarket that
said: “should we stock this?” Imagine a pharmacy that stopped trying to
sell you junk food — and focused on comparing the efficacy of different
health options for you instead. Imagine an open standard for credit
ratings, instead of the opaque, conflict-ridden mess we’ve got now.
That’s what waging peace might look like.

I never really thought about an Ad Blocker having unique insight
into what the potential consumer finds valuable, but the logic is
right. And its these unconsidered competitors that in ten years will
be major factors and another list like the one above will exist.


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