Today I awoke with an epiphany. The information age is over. For the internet, information is no longer the product, and users are no longer the consumers. The value of something to society is indexed by the money associated with it. Given that web users expect information for free, it follows that information has no value.
The really valuable work is in serving the advertisers by providing them eyeballs and personal information. I realize now that all my efforts to maximize the user experience are misguided. Users are the product and advertisers are the consumers. Effective today I now dedicate myself and this site to advertiser-centered design.
As it is, I’m playing catch-up. The reason businesses pay for UX in the first place is in hope of promoting sales. We create experiences that encourage people to buy, which is what advertisement is all about. It’s time I recognize that UX is a component of advertising.
Sites have long had advertisements to finance themselves. These sites pay for advertisements on other sites to drive users to their sites where they click the advertisements providing the financing for more advertising. Not a few these advertisements on the site advertise other sites also supported by advertisements. Click the right ads from site to site and surely you’ll end up back where you started.
Modern advertisers know how to get others to do their advertising for them. Search engine optimization turns Google search results into advertisements. Companies like Apple turn product launches in “special events” covered by the press, aiming to change the news into advertisement.
This is hardly new or limited to the web. We have long been buying hats, t-shirts, and other apparel that advertise products. We don’t wear clothes. We wear banner ads. Stores like Abercrombie and Fitch and Old Navy advertise apparel which advertises the stores. Today our entertainment isn’t just supported by advertisement. It is advertisement. Hollywood advertises movies that advertise other things through product placement. Cable networks advertise TV shows interlaced with advertisements through the use of “bugs” and “snipes.”
It’s pretty clear where the web and, by extension all of Western Civilization, is heading. Soon everything will be advertisements. Just as the agricultural economy gave way to the industrial economy, which yielded to the service economy, the service economy will fall to the advertising economy, where the majority of the population is involved in advertising. Our world will be filled with advertisements that advertise more advertisements people can experience, ad infinitum. It’s a utopia where everything will be free, paid for by advertisements. The economy will be distilled to its essence: pure selling.
I want a piece of that.
You may have noticed a subtle change to this web site: I’ve started including advertisements. At first I wasn’t sure where or how to advertise to attract advertisers, but then I realized that, since I’m an UX expert, I must also be an advertising expert. And as an advertising expert, it would be hypocritical if I didn’t acknowledge that the most important thing for me to advertise is me.
I turns out I could offer myself some very reasonable advertisement rates, which have nonetheless proven very lucrative for me. I’ve brought in thousands of dollars in revenue from myself on my first day. There’re expenditures to be counted still, of course, including a substantial advertising budget, but that is to be expected since advertisements is all I’ll be producing from now on. I’ll make profits through volume. You got a better business plan for today’s economy?