Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

It would be great if the ad business model on the web died. Hopefully the new business models that would popup would be more upfront. People used to pay 25 cents to read a newspaper or a few bucks for a magazine.

>People used to pay 25 cents to read a newspaper

When you didn't have a world wide internet there was a lot of friction meaning you end up with 5000 newspapers all publishing the same junk for 25 cents because on average any community only had 1 or 2 choices at most and the local oligopoly, not wanting to go out of business, agreed to charge 25 cents.

You put all 5000 on the internet, you really need 4998 of them to go out of business before you can think of going oligopoly and raising prices to 25 cents again. That has to happen first. Most of the competition has to die off before prices can rise again.

In the paper newspaper days, culture supported about as many journalists as police detectives, roughly, which is a lot. In the internet era you need about as many journalists as there are pro football players, roughly. A lot of journalism schools need to close, lots of people need new jobs, its not merely closing out legacy newspaper corporations. Until the "supply" of journalist humans drops by a factor of 100 to 1000, there isn't going to be much money to be made in that field.

It is like being in the horse buggy business around a century ago. Another interesting analogy might be village blacksmith vs the industrial nationwide factory. When one guy at one machine can manufacture an entire nations widgets, there isn't any requirement anymore for every village blacksmith to hand make widgets.

I don't buy it because people are more addicted to content than ever. There is a huge demand for high quality content it's just a matter of figuring the business model to meet that demand. But once it's figured out there will be more journalists than ever. I can't imagine an info-starved internet future.

Unfortunately we have a prisoner's dilemma where people will defect from "costs a little money" to "free with ads" to "free and I block the ads" to "no content."

We'll never get to "no content" because people want quality content and are willing to pay. It's just a matter of the market figuring out how to match supply and demand. There will be a lot of failures along the way but it will happen.

There are lots of things where "someone wants to provide X" and "someone wants to consume X" and even if they could agree on cost, they can't, because market failure.

"The market will figure it out" isn't something handed down from God. I've observed industry segments get drained because someone tried to give away the product, driving all other players out of the market, and then the one remaining player was unable to support themselves because their customers had been trained to get it for free.

newspapers and magazines have always had advertisements

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact