Thursday, April 4, 2013

What if nagware IS the model?

This unpleasant thought just flew into my head for no reason that I can explain:

Along with countless others, I have long wondered how online advertising can have achieved such staggering heights of annoyance.  I am not sure I've ever heard anyone admit to personally appreciating it, and by my accounting at least there is near-universal agreement that it continually gets worse--parrying every effort one can make to ignore it with some new nuisance.  And yet it all must somehow be effective enough, in the end, for the effort to continue.

But why should I presume that the goal is what it appears to be?  After all, one can conclude that the effort for nuisance advertising is successful without postulating WHY it's successful.  I've always simply presumed that enough people respond to the advertising to justify its continuation--but that's because that's how advertising is supposed to work.

But what if nagware IS the model?

I suddenly am very curious to know if advertisers get any sort of cut from their online hosts' subscriptions.  You know, things like "Upgrade to [product/subscription] for just $[amount] per [period] and make the advertising go away". 

The most unpleasant part about this thought is that it passes both the Occam's razor test and the cui bono test.  The latter, with flying colors:  the host retains an associative distance from the nuisance that drives business into its hands, and the advertiser gets to work it from both ends--those who are persuaded by aggressive advertising, and also those who run from it.  That's two new revenue streams, created from very nearly nothing.

This seems like something I should have thought of long ago (true nagware has been around for a while now, after all), but this application of the principle just hadn't occurred to me before just now.

Oh joy.


MamaLiberty said...

I actually pay no attention at all to on line (or any other kind) advertising. I block all "popups" and a lot of the adware to start with, and simply ignore the rest.

We can choose what to see... and we can choose whether to be annoyed or not. I choose not to stress about such things. :)

If I do find a site too annoying, for whatever reason (usually more to do with navigation or other content), I simply don't go there anymore.

JSullivan said...

came over from Joel's place, like what I read.
As to your 'nagware", you may want to try adblock for firefox, it's free add-on, and works great....

" Adblock Plus 2.2.3 No Restart
by Wladimir Palant

Annoyed by adverts? Troubled by tracking? Bothered by banners? Install Adblock Plus now to regain control of the internet and change the way that you view the web.

A short video overview is available at

Add to Firefox
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