Posts filed under “Weblogs”


It’s like there are two internets. One of skeptical consumers doing their best to navigate their lives and the other of scumbag providers doing their best to win through subterfuge. Then again, in a world where brands are revered and Volkswagen cheats why do we expect people to bend over backwards for businesses?

We can talk about ads slowing down mobile loading times, we can reference Apple making its money on hardware, but what we’ve really got is a public that’s sick and tired of getting the short end of the stick. If Republicans were advertisers they’d tell people to just pick themselves up by their bootstraps and be just like them, winners. But is it a winning economy when we’re inundated with messages that aren’t relevant that intrude upon our everyday life?

But websites will tell us there’s no free lunch.

Which brings up the question of payment. Everyone on the corporate side believes no one will pay. But the truth is we pay all the time, when you offer convenience and a desirable product. But when you do your best to put one over on us, we get angry. And if there’s any way we can get retribution…

Kind of like Napster. Sure, tunes were free. But they were also unlocked from overpriced albums with few good tracks. Furthermore, now radio was no longer in control, we were able to sample wares based on our own desires. The irony is the major labels and music business honchos will STILL tell you radio is in control! Ain’ that a laugh. Radio is where you can reach the most people easily, but it means less than ever before. How do we know? Because most of the public is clueless as to the Top Ten, they just don’t care about it. In other words, it turns out the music industry is not giving people what they want.

We’ve all got to focus on giving people what they want. That’s internet 101. The consumer is in control. Win by serving them, not by corralling them to fit your own desires.

Not that business people always get it wrong. Look at Reed Hastings and Netflix. He knew that streaming was the answer, he dropped the price and provided instant access. There was huge public outcry from people who wanted to rent DVDs. Do you know anyone who rents DVDS anymore? Do you know anyone who has a DVD player? Discs are dead. Hastings knew this already, the public had to catch up, and when it did people were satisfied, Netflix is burgeoning.

And Apple has eliminated disc drives from computers. The same way Steve Jobs got rid of legacy ports almost twenty years ago. Remember the outcry? That this also-ran computer company was leaving old customers in the dust, forcing them to buy new product? Well, that was back before Apple became a juggernaut, it was a harbinger of what was to come.

Just like this is.

People are sick and tired of losing their privacy. They’re sick and tired of being tracked. There’s nothing as weird as seeing an ad for a product follow you around the web. Do you want to trust these people? Did you trust the Stasi?

The ad companies are no different from the record companies, wanting to hold on to an old model that benefits them but not the user. Meanwhile, wannabe techies side with them the way wannabe musicians side with legacy artists in desiring the old model, they feel they’ve lost their opportunity. But isn’t it funny that today it’s the labels who are on the cutting edge, pushing streaming services, and the acts are the ones behind. Winners take stock of a changed world and adjust accordingly. Keep your music off Spotify? Put it everywhere and get people to listen to it. The rewards come when people know who you are, they’ll give you tons of money if only you create a bond.

And maybe that’s the future we’re going to, where people pay. It’s already happening in news. With soft paywalls. Turns out most people don’t want to read the “New York Times” anyway, and those who do gladly pay. As for those who bitch… I remember Michael Eisner saying that ten percent of people will never pay, but they seem to bitch loudest.

Not that I’m saying the public is completely trustworthy, that it doesn’t see the shenanigans of VW and take matters into its own hands, cutting corners. But I am saying if you’re dependent upon the public to make money, you’ve got to serve their dreams, not yours.

Furthermore, ad prices have been sinking online, because spots are ineffectual. The web is littered with link-bait no better than Nigerian money scams. You see these stories everywhere, who are the nincompoops who click through?

As for YouTube pre-roll… Where can I pay to make it go away? Rates are abysmal, but I’ll pay dollars to make ads disappear. Where do I enter my credit card number?

And you’re telling me I spend nearly a grand for an iPhone and I’m beholden to ads which ruin my experience? Isn’t this what killed the PC makers, who loaded up your new computer with bloatware you never wanted and had a hard time eliminating? Sure, it lowered the cost of the product, but then all the profits went to Apple.

Just like they do now.

That’s the lesson here. People trust Apple. Believe the company is on their side. They don’t mind paying a high price for the experience.

And it’s the same way in every walk of life. It’s the public that likes scalping, at least they can go to the show, even if the price is high. Scalpers charge fair market value, acts are living in an alternative universe where they want to look fair with low prices but are actually screwing their customers. Turns out most of their fans WANT to pay more, and acts should let them!

And Android is hobbled by ancient operating systems that can’t be upgraded. Based upon advertising, the experience is substandard and people are opting to pay more for iPhones. But I thought everybody was cheap, that no one wanted to pay? Well, Apple’s got all the profits in handsets, so you should contemplate that.

Ads are dying in television. They’ve hobbled radio. And now you’ve got internet sites telling us they must remain? Make me laugh, when I’m not puking. There’s got to be a better way.

And it’s via trust.

If you can’t get the consumer on YOUR side, you’re doomed.

Isn’t that what we learned in the record business? That we had to proffer solutions people wanted? First with iTunes? As for streaming, the public has already voted, streaming has won by a landslide, it’s only the acts with their heads up their ass who believe otherwise. But you don’t win by bitching, you win by abandoning the old model and embracing the new.

People hate ads, they ruin the experience. That’s why they download ad-blockers.

And they laud Apple for providing them, isn’t that what we all want, a better experience in life? Isn’t that who we give money to?

The sands they are a-shifting. We have spam blockers, a whole industry trying to weed out bad e-mail, but we can’t get rid of bad ads?

Come on.

This is the new reality. If we lose a bunch of sites, so be it. Hell, if we can get rid of some spyware…




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Category: Web/Tech, Weblogs

Tweets, Runs and the Minnesota Vikings

Tweets, Runs and the Minnesota Vikings David Bradnum, Christopher Lovell, Pedro Santos and Nick Vaughan. Bank of England August 18 2015     Could Twitter help predict a bank run? That was the question a group of us were tasked with answering in the run up to the Scottish independence referendum. To investigate, we built an experimental system in…Read More

Category: Think Tank, Weblogs

How to sort through garbage online investment advice

    My Sunday Washington Post Business Section column is out. This morning, we look at how the internet evolved as a source of bad investment opinion. The print version had the full headline How to sort out the garbage of online investment advice; I like the online version hed, Hey, investment cranks: The Internet never forgets. Here’s an excerpt from…Read More

Category: Analysts, Financial Press, Investing, Really, really bad calls, Weblogs

Cures for the Common Financial Web

Wonderful collection of sites from Jimmy Atkinson at Fund Reference: ~~~ Thankfully there are a number of sites dedicated to conveying investment advice that is actually worthwhile. The exceptional sites listed below can serve as resources for those looking to invest wisely and gradually accumulate wealth. Big Picture: Barry Ritholtz remains one of the most insightful and honest…Read More

Category: Financial Press, Investing, Weblogs

Ritholtz: Why I Write

While I am traveling on the West Coast, I have pulled some items that have not been published here previously.  Marco Nappolini did this with me on June 26th 2013. ~~~ In this series we aim to shed light on the motivations, inspirations and writing processes of some of the leading financial bloggers. Here, Barry Ritholtz…Read More

Category: Weblogs

Death Tax, Paying for What You Use, Comment Foolishness

There was some pushback on yesterday’s rather tame suggestion that the U.S. properly finance the fund that pays to maintain and repair our roads. Much of the correspondence was surprising. Then again, I am continually flabbergasted by the cognitive errors that the human brain can make. It’s a marvelously designed piece of wetware that does a…Read More

Category: Bad Math, Politics, Taxes and Policy, Weblogs

No Diggity

This only came out 3 years ago? It seems much longer than that . . .   Chet Faker – No diggity Digging The Blogosphere      

Category: Music, Weblogs, Weekend

Dear Ben: Better Pace Yourself . . .

Dear Ben, If I might be so bold as to assume we can be on a first-name basis, let me be among of the first to say, congrats on the new gig! You have been quite the busy ex-Fed chairman, what with the new job and office at Brookings and a red hot new eponymous blog. Today we learned you entered into…Read More

Category: Federal Reserve, Humor, Philosophy, Weblogs

I am pleased to have made the list of top 100 Economic Influencers on Twitter. You can see the full list and methodology at Captain Economics.   Source: Captain Economics  

Category: Data Analysis, Digital Media, Economy, Weblogs

Hate Mail Rules

1. CHECK YOUR GRAMMAR No one’s going to take you seriously if you use “there” instead of “their” or “your” instead of “you’re.” Maybe you should write your missives in Word first, where there’s a grammar checker. Or maybe run your prospective words by your mother, since you want her to be proud of you….Read More

Category: Humor, Psychology, Web/Tech, Weblogs