John Herman commenting on new content platforms like Svbtle, Branch, Medium, and App.net thinks that these service are out to fix the Internet. Herman:
So this is one, if not the, vision for the future of the internet, and a lot of people are dedicated to making it catch on. It’s an internet where every blog is Daring Fireball, where every post looks like Instapaper, where every discussion is led by its rightful leaders, and where ads are considered no better than spam. It’s barren but design-forward, and, at least at the moment, kind of elitist. It’s not clear how it’ll make money. Maybe it won’t! Maybe that’s part of the idea.
I like every word I hear in that passage. I also think it is pretty damn clear how these sites will make money, by being user supported. It seems to me that Herman has pointed out the most powerful trend on the web right now: ads are evil.
This is more than just being about blogging too — ads are easy to strip out of blogs and newspaper websites. Step back and think about what such an anti-ad movement means to, oh let’s say, Google. That’s not only a direct threat to ads on Google.com properties, but it’s a direct threat to Android’s developers — many of whom rely heavily on ads. It’s a direct threat to iOS apps too.
In all the sites mentioned above I see a few common themes, themes that give me great hope for change:
- Content is being created by users, not “curated” or some other bullshit.
- Ads are seen as not only in poor taste, but seem morally evil to many of the services.
- Each are being championed and pushed forward by some of the “tech elite.”
You can disagree with whether or not these services will succeed — they have an uphill battle — but I think it is pretty hard to argue that they don’t encompass the wishes and ideas of many of the top content providers on the web today.
And I think that gives all of those services a fighting chance.