Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised by the news today that Virgin Atlantic are soon to announce a free trans-atlantic service. On each flight, a small number of fee-free passengers will simply have to put up with being pinned into their seats having commercials fired at them for the entire trip. Like the NYT, the WSJ and London's FT, they are simply following the same business model that makes a free-to-use site like Facebook 'over $10bn': we get life without paying, as long as we put up with commercials.
I could use a 'free' platform with ads. I could get my subs for Typepad lessened with Google ads in a sidebar. Well this space is not for sale. OK, you can follow a link to buy my book, but I hope that's not beyond the pale.
Why don't I like side-bar ads? Because I know that somebody is paying. When Facebook is worth 10bn, that means 10bn worth of ads, and that means 10bn worth of people clicking to buy stuff they didn't know they needed. So if you like you can join my group: I'd rather pay for Facebook than have all the dumb ads.
As previously posted here, advertising 'makes us all poor'; but it also makes the poor, poorer. It's not the financially sensible who click on the sidebar ads. Ads tantalize. Deliberately. They infect us with thoughts that without their product, we are no good. This cannot be a price worth (not) paying. Nothing is truly free. Someone has to pay somewhere - it's just that it's not so likely to be us. We go free, while others click and pick up the tab for us. And with a global debt crisis like we've got, that makes me sick.