I once heard an ads account PM put it this way: "If you have enough money to buy a no-ads tier, someone will pay more to put an ad there"
To a lesser extent you see it with magazines too, especially in the fashion space, where brands don't want to be in a "free" magazine, so the magazine has to charge a cover price, but they practically give away subscriptions since the cover price is not where they're making money.
I keep seeing this, but in the US this isn't really true. Cable TV was originally sold as a way to get all the surrounding broadcast TV stations in to your home with near perfect signal quality without needing an antenna. This meant you would get all the ads those broadcast networks aired. Sure, cable networks did not inject additional ads, but there were still ads. It took a while before premium cable-only channels arrived, some of which touted being ad-free. But even then many of those premium channels had advertising from the beginning.
Ads were on cable TV since the get go.
In the dawn of time, also known as my childhood, there were 2 channels. Then 3. TV's had dials and it was my job, like so many other youngest children, to turn them. Then cable came and there were a lot of channels. So many channels you needed the newspaper's TV schedule to figure out what to watch. No more flipping between 2 or 3 channels hoping for something better. Planned viewing had arrived. No more sitting by the TV, spinning through channels, and getting clouted for spinning to fast because you'll break it! And finally, freeing children everywhere from the tyranny of the dial, remote control! No longer chained to the TV, children could return to lounging on the comfy family room chesterfields.
Never forget that cable, and the TV remotes it spawned, freed millions of children from spinning TV dials!
It was amazing.
Of course the wire was about 2 feet too short. So it was still my job to sit on the floor and in the middle of the room to be the “wireless” portion of the remote. But still, was so much better than having to walk up every 5 minutes (my dad loved making me flip channels during commercials, even though often commercials were often synced between abc, nbc, and cbs). But then came PBS
Those were the days
(the archie bunker theme)
Now that I don’t have cable but DO have an antenna (and Plex) I still like reruns of mash, gomer pile, Andy Griffith to fall asleep to etc. I wish they would throw Sanford and son in the mix!
People were assuming because they were paying for Television there would be no (or at least less) ads. The article then states that there was $45 million in cable advertising vs $11 billion in traditional. I think those numbers alone make it pretty clear advertising was not at the top of the (at the time) nascent industry's mind. And, while this is only a guess its probably safe to assume the bulk of that $45 million went to at most a handful of "innovative" (vomits in mouth) cable companies.
And yeah, advertising revenues weren't nearly as huge for cable networks at the beginning. The first cable networks started operations in the 50s, and you're sharing an article written in '81 pretty much showcasing that there were only a few cable-only TV stations at the time. At the beginning there were zero cable-only TV stations, and that was how it was for about 30 years. All channels you got on cable were just the broadcast stations. Many years later they started adding cable-only stations with some of those stations having advertising and some of them without.
The first real cable-only TV channel was HBO, which was without ads. The second real cable-only TV station was WTBS, which had ads (it was a nearly nation-wide rebroadcast of Ted Turner's broadcast TV station, so only semi-only-cable?) and started on cable in 1976. After that there was Christian Broadcasting Network which was ad-free. In 1979 we got Nickeloden and ESPN (ads), in 1980 we got CNN and USA (ads).
If anything, it's the most measurable of (non-interactive) video ads, since the viewer's future engagement with the advertised show (correcting for the baseline expected viewership among subscribers not shown that ad) can be attributed to the advertisement itself.
And if retention can then be attributed to engagement, there's a monetary value for that ad space, which goes back to the grandparent post's sentiment: "someone will pay more to put an ad there."
I don't think I can agree with this. While I don't like pre-roll mini-trailers (or even full trailers), the fact that I've chosen to pay for the service is a pretty strong hint that I'd like to know what offerings they have. The obvious alternative is to provide me with good discovery tools so that I never miss anything myself. I prefer that, but I don't think that the pre-rolls really violate a "no advertising" model.
It's certainly better than NPR/PBS's interpretation of "no advertising", which I was told in the 90s is essentially just "no quality adjectives".
The interesting part to this is that once the competition is heavily saturated with ads, having no ads gives you a distinctive edge over them.
The thing that interests me the most is how ads can significantly degrade the quality of the product itself. This is really apparent with Amazon, where their ad platform not only pushed up the visibility of very low quality products but also made their seller ecosystem dependent on them. Amazon’s search results are their content, which are now ads. In order to outbid competitors, you need to increase your margins, which you do by selling a shittier product. I suspect we will see a similar thing happen to Apple’s App Store over time.
Already the terrible curation makes it hard to find any quality content in Apple's App Store. (I'll never understand why it's so hard to get a search for the exact name of an app to return that app first.) I shudder to imagine how bad it could be if they were incentivised to make it bad.
Preroll ads are only there because they haven't found advertisers willing to pay them enough yet. It does mean they have the infrastructure there, waiting and ready, and ad / data engineers getting data from ad viewership and rudimentary conversion numbers, which they can then use to sell ads.
It'll be there soon.
At least on my services, they are just short trailers, never annoying ads like Progressive's. And if I'm not interested, there's always a Skip button. I'm paying for this service, I want to know what upcoming shows are coming. I don't mind if this helps with their internal metrics.
Now I do object to the actual 5-10 min of ads I subjected to in the movie theater.
Amazon Prime paid channel subscriptions don't let you skip the previews for that channel. (At least, that is true for Paramount+.)
There's a market for subscriptions. Unfortunately you have to provide a really fucking great product.
And most of these companies don't.
Why do you doubt it? I've read that extension creators are constantly bombarded with offers to package just a little malware in their extension; surely the same is true of ads. If you're just a hobbyist developer—and that's where the best extensions come from—surely it's too much to expect that you'll resist that pressure forever.
So there is always a significant risk even the author declines all the offers for cashing out.
But again, your awesome extension in which you poured so many hours is not the problem, it's just affected by the problem.
I assume that everyone who makes useful extensions like this does so out of good will. But I also assume that it is possible for a good person to tire of maintaining a piece of software, and want to pass on control, and to allow themselves to see the upside of an appealing and lucrative offer and believe that the worst won't come. And I can't blame a person who does this—they certainly don't owe me anything.
1. The creator of the VLC media player was apparently offered "tens of millions" of euros to insert ads. Thus, if your software is sufficiently widely used, that is the kind of temptation you may eventually face.
2. He said no. So there do exist people who will resist such temptation.
Citation: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15372048 and the link chain therefrom
I've seen opportunities to subscribe to podcasts for $$, which irritated me, but that's it.
Yeah, that's an ad. It's even in the sentence.
(Disclosure: I work for Google, speaking only for myself)
+ selling information gleaned from consumption habits (e.g. song choice on Spotify, etc.)
Don't necessarily have to target on the platform itself.
But I feel like Zoom is missing an opportunity here. I just went through the exercise of googling "zoom pricing" and... I'm confused. I still don't know how much it costs.
Twitch can largely be credited with the model of supporting creators with monthly subscriptions. Obviously they didn't invent the monthly subscription but they made it "mainstream" (within the context of Twitch viewers) such that many creators can support themselves this way with audience sizes that aren't large enough to be supported by ad revenue.
The point is that Twitch created a user behaviour of supporting creators with sufficient scale to matter.
So with Zoom, the pricing should be transparent and obvious. Obviously you're going to have the company plans that cover all participants. It probably shouldn't be "unlimited" as those are your most valuable customers and the most willing to pay.
But the missed opportunity here is to incentivize individuals to pay with features that might matter to them. I'm not sure what those are but in the very least, paid users should receive no ads. Make this $5/month. Lots of people will pay that if you toss in a few premium features.
Ad-supporting free services is so pervasive because it's effective but it's also lazy. With the rise of remote work, there are a lot of people who will gladly pay some small monthly fee to make their life easier even if their employer won't. Build user behaviour.
A product built with this architecture could not deliver the reliability and performance that Zoom delivers with the variety of connectivity quality that its users have.
Something tells me the various consumer routers out there wouldn't know how to deal with the traffic...
I'm always inclined to think this is the case. Investors are always wanting to know how you're going to increase returns THIS quarter.
> anything cheap starts to get expensive. This certainly applies to bandwidth.
This breaks the basic supply-demand rule. It’s also happening more often. Why are our business models so messed uo?
Imagine all those bored users in forced meetings! They would click on anything to kill the boredom! :p
Maybe the most important sentence in the whole announcement.
- names of participants, and their ad profiles
- meeting title, time, length
Now you are getting ads for dogfood because your coworker has a new pet.
I don’t understand why all the negativity comes out when a company decides to stop subsidizing all the engineering, bandwidth, storage, servers, .. costs that goes into a product.
Or ads targeting key messages right before your team meets with a new vendor.
It's like clockwork. Yeah I'm sure that it costs a ton of money to maintain their product to scale. But you've gotta be kidding me that they didn't already make the money they should have needed to support this growth if you look at their net worth vs pre-pandemic and post-pandemic.
I don't see what the big deal is.
Later on, a precocious junior engineer discovers the bug, but isn’t allowed to fix it due to the revenue hit.
It is an ad on a page in the browser. Don't many other companies (Google, Facebook, etc) manage to do that without becoming vectors for malware?
Which is why it feels unfair to me to single out Zoom's addition of ads to their free tier for being a malware vector.
This all depends on targeting (as an HN user you're unlikely to be targeted by them as there are higher-value ads that match your profile) but at the bottom of the targeting barrel there are absolutely ads for scams and/or malware.
And I don't see any reason that the spam/malicious-content filtering tools used to filter email would not be used to filter ads (with appropriate modifications of course).
So this leaves me unconvinced that Zoom web ads are any more susceptible to being malware vectors as compared to ads anywhere else (or other tools that host user-generated/third party text, like email, messaging, and social media).
If I have to chose between naked people and a coke ad, I'd rather have the kids see sex. Honestly, the former never had a negative impact on me, but the later really had.
It's like comparing coffee and meth.
Side note, at least now it's easy to make your own video setup, providers like Twilio/OpenTok, so... pay or set it up/pay yourself idk.
I get it though, it's like YouTube vs. Vimeo... costs money to facilitate that magic that just works/have the audience.
It’s more interactive now, but it’s starting to feel like a rerun lately.
People no longer have to depend on coaxial cable owners or satellite owners or TV airwaves owners to distribute their content.
Even at $5 CPM (high for a web banner), zoom will make... half a penny per meeting, before incurring multiple cents in bandwidth costs.
Zoom says they have over 3.3 trillion meeting-minutes as of October 2020: Let's assume they are counting each party to the meeting separately, and that "free tier" represents a mere 10% of their traffic: A $1 CPM rotated every five minutes is $660m every year.
Ad serving (technology) is cheap if done smartly: I could serve a billion video ads a month for around $150k/pcm in 2013.
I would expect not only material revenue, but material growth as well.
- Has their audio enabled and speakers on
- Has personalized data and history associated with their account
- Has a camera aimed at them to detect eyeball ad tracking
Maybe it will encourage people to giddy up and finish just to get away from the ads.
* Panel discussion with Palestinian activist Leyla Khaled: https://theintercept.com/2020/11/14/zoom-censorship-leila-kh...
( and see also https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2020/10/27/zoom-fa... )
* Chinese opposition activists censored at the behest of China: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23498664
P2P videoconferencing beyond a few participants isn't very practical in the real world, due to the bandwidth requirements rapidly exceeding what a typical user's connection can reliably transmit without unacceptable loss/delay/jitter.
Last I checked, the competitors, whether free or not, all had meaningful downsides (quality, latency, self-hosted, inextricably bundled to another system, etc) with the only upside being “it’s not Zoom.”
Honest question. I’m sure the land has changed a lot in the last 6-12 months.
The one I was kinda surprised wasn't any good, even for audio-only, was Discord. Not that it fits your criteria anyway.
n of 1 and all that, I don't have any supporting data.
My mother, for example, still prefers correspondence via snail mail. She has learned to tolerate FaceTime, but Zoom is always a bit of a hassle and requires a separate phone-call to her landline to help her walk through the steps to get connected. I don't think she's unusual. It's a big world, with lots of kinds of people in it.
Yes. Google Meet is just as easy to use, and Jitsi is even easier with zero signup required.
If you are an enterprise, yes. For individual usage - like, for example, hosting a virtual beer night with friends - you have to go for a subscription that you have to take care to cancel afterwards.
1. Services have to inform the user (text, email...) every time they charge their card. Even better would be to inform 48 hours before, so users have a chance to cancel.
2. Any subscription service should provide the user to choose the duration, when they sign up. If I need LinkedIn subscription for 3 months, then I should be able to choose at the time of subscription, and it should be canceled automatically after three monthly payments.
And so on. These are all trivial to implement tech wise.
But hey, who am I kidding. These are never going to happen
Probably they hoped that the law got overturned by a change of government or because of lobbying/bribery... why invest in change when there's still a possibility of it being unneeded?
> For this initial program, ads will be rolled out only on the browser page users see once they end their meeting. Only free Basic users in certain countries will see these ads if they join meetings that are hosted by other free Basic users.
(Full disclosure: I know the founders)
killall -9 zoom
And another question:
Since most users nowadays sit behind a router that only allows outbound connections - how do Zoom users connect to each other?
The bigger problem, which affects all nodes even if they can establish direct connectivity, is just the bandwidth requirements of true P2P videoconferencing once you have more than a few participants in the meeting. People often find out that even a connection marketed as "1Gbit fibre" likely has unacceptable loss/delay/jitter once they try to transmit, say, 50Mbit/s of UDP at a high packet rate to a variety of international destinations at the same time.
Surprised people still use it considering that back office and R&D are in China and there was so many news about blocking users and groups outside China but ordered from China by CCP due to the discussed topics.
BTW, will Zoom now officially be collecting user data to sell more ads? I mean it kinda already did collect a lot of data to send it to China but officially this never happened. Now with ad business it will be official practice to aggressively collect data.
OTOH I feel like Slack used the opportunity well. Huddle is a very "astute" product decision.
Google Hangouts (or whatever it's called after their rebranding every 6 months) has improved leaps and bounds.
MS videoconferencing is the same as zoom - barely usable garbage.
Where's all the "innovation" all these companies constantly talk about? I want products that people use because they like them, not because they have to.
Why can't they switch to P2P audio/video transmission instead of funneling everything through their servers?
I’ve always felt that Skype calls became much worse once Microsoft bought them and shifted away from p2p.
Latency in voice communication is super important, yes.
P2P latency can be better or worse than P2S2P latency. It depends on the networks the peers and server are on, where all parties are located, and how they're interconnected.
If the peers are on the same ISP, P2P is probably better, if they're not, it can vary widely. Sometimes those ISP will exchange packets directly, but far away, whereas they both may have more direct routes to a nearby server. If the peers are far away, the server network may have better long distance transit than the peer ISPs. Of course, sometimes the server is far away from both the peers. For some participants, p2p brings problems because it exposes each peer's IP to the other peers.
A well designed system will measure and adjust the routing for the best results, including during the call (and carefully adjust the buffering to avoid large jitter) as conditions can change.
The average experience of users would go down significantly as you start to multiply the bandwidth requirements, which is why P2P isn't typically used for more than 2 participants despite the potential bandwidth savings to the operator.
I suppose “try the P2P method and fallback automatically/invisibly to server-connected if that fails” could work pretty well though.
Webex seem happy
Your coworkers and customers and boss are loving it..
I’m surprised there aren’t more very easy open-source alternatives than https://jitsi.org/jitsi-meet/ , given WebRTC is peer-to-peer and doesn’t consume bandwidth from the hosting service.
I’m not putting shade on Meet. Haven’t used it in over a year.
Seems like our grandparents were correct. Nothing is free.
It also still can show more simultaneous "squares" of video than most (maybe not all anymore) of it's competitors.
Also it's atrocious UI and UX may still be better than MS Teams.
Google meet, and jitsi meet are both depressingly bad for this use case.
It's not my favourite piece of software, but for virtual teaching, it is head-and-shoulders above the competition.
Compared to google meet it all felt like a bad joke.