Will Free From The Internet Replace Free On The Internet?
Attitude towards the internet and how it is reflected by the way some individuals use social media is under the spotlight once again as yet another young man is detained for freely using Twitter to broadcast racial abuse.
Yet, the attitude towards the so-called free-to-air publishing environment is not unlike the way many eCommerce site owners still see the net as being a low or no-cost alternative to traditional marketing strategies.
Scammers and hackers have always been there, of course, and they never miss an opportunity to exploit any new opportunity for gain – financial, political or simply because they can. The new search and social landscape represents a multi channel and platform garden of delights for the spammer and ‘confused’ business owner alike to come out to play.
Ultimately, we all ‘pay the price’ because others pay nothing and simply see the net as mostly a free resource. The pollution of the net by link building scams, abuse of SEO keywords, spam email marketing and unutterably poor content have all contributed to the social networking revolution that appeared to provide a real alternative to increasingly irrelevant search results.
The ‘net’ result, as it were, was to lead some business owners to form a view that anything to do with the online world would be free or low cost. Apart from the PPC ad paid search of course, but Google Adsense could also provide a lucrative way to generate revenue!
A greater deterioration of attitude can be observed with some eCommerce towards the creation, distribution and management of social media content. They see the process as simply taking no time, effort or expense at all. “ We’d do it ourselves if we had time” is the usual ironic comment, or “ how hard is it to tweet and blog, you just string a few sentences together in plain English, it cost nothing …”
It has to be said that while this represents the more extreme end of a complete tunnel vision myopia on the part of some site owners who think bulk buying ‘assembly line’ content from overseas for pennies is clever business, it nevertheless demonstrates a persistent refusal to see the net as anything other than an easy steal.
The search and social networking community audiences will be the final arbiter and Google is tripping over its algorithms to catch up with the likes of Facebook. Both look to secure their future in the ‘user information in exchange for access’ business model to drive their advertising revenues, which means, ultimately, the net is not ‘free’.
The big question for the user is how long are they prepared to pay the price and will we see a return to more offline activity if privacy issues pass the tipping point?
Will free from the internet replace free on the internet?