Before watching the video series, The True Story of the Internet, I had absolutely no idea the history of the Internet, the battle between Netscape and Microsoft and how Google, became… well Google. I grew up while all of this was happening, but was too young to really understand. I was too busy playing crude pixilated graphic games like Gus goes to Cybertown. In my younger years, I mainly used the computer for downloading music on Napster or chatting on AIM with my friends, fretting over what my away message would be. RIP Napster, you were the greatest thing that happened to my childhood.
I found the most interesting aspect, was that for many, innovation came from what they themselves as a user needed from the Internet. Netscape founders, needed to access the information that was being housed on the web. Google founders needed a better way to filter and find the most relevant information and Napster founders wanted to access and find new music. Obviously, Napster and Netscape are no more, but Google has found a way to monetize their technology and stay relevant. How? How media has always been monetized… advertisements.
After college, I worked in digital advertisements. I built custom eNewsletters, and embedded banners ads on editorial eNewsletters, to blast out everyday to 30,000+ Texans. I also trafficked and tracked campaign performances for website advertisements. This was not a job I ever thought I would do while studying journalism in college, but it was a good opportunity to learn about the other side. Advertisements are everywhere and sometimes I feel like we become desensitized to them. There are softwares that can track IP addresses and sell to clients a specific demographic with interests that are aligned to the clients product. Google probably knows everything about me, and in fact has guessed based on what I google that I am a female between the ages of 18 – 25. It’s pretty invasive, but we make ourselves so readily available on the Internet. There is money to be made, and advertisements and paying for premium accounts NOT to have advertisements is the future.
As journalists, we wonder how we can utilize the Internet to make money, what I did in advertising paid for the journalists at Texas Monthly to be able to do their job. It can be done tastefully though and sometimes the average Internet user doesn’t even realize they are looking at a paid advertisement or sponsored content. Even Facebook and Buzzfeed have ad and sponsored content that can full us into thinking it’s actual content. Sometimes I have even seen sponsored content posts on my Instagram feed.
Google was the first to find how to make money to use the Internet and become the company we know of today. This is something as content creators we have to accept and sometimes even participate in. Since these videos, Google has only grown, now we have Google Fiber a competitor to Time Warner and AT&T U-Verse. I expect only more creativity and innovation from the company. I also expect for the Web to become more and more invasive as well as more participation from users. We must be careful what we put out there and we must be aware of why we see the ads that we do, they are relevant and our clicks and impressions are being bought and sold as we actively participate in Internet use.