“I don’t like online adverts” (here’s why you’re wrong)

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A lot of the training we deliver is fully-funded meaning that you have not had to pay anything for it. Sometimes, you may have even made reference to our training being “free”. If you ever say this in front of any of us, you’ll be met with a cheery chorus of “It’s not free, it’s fully-funded!”.

There’s a good reason for this. In part, because if training (or anything?) is truly free, would it ever really be that good? If it’s just free, then you aren’t getting anything of value. But what we offer isn’t free, it’s just that someone else is paying the bill. It has value, it’s useful, important, necessary – but someone else picks up the tab.

So let’s take a look at Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and…well…the internet as a whole to be honest. Is it free? I mean, I’m not talking the cost of access (like paying BT, Comcast or Telstra as your ISP or Internet Service Provider) – I’m talking about these specific services. Are they free?

No, they’re fully-funded.

Think about how much you pay for your own business website, the domain name, hosting, the design, development and upkeep of your little piece of the interwebnet. Now, multiply those costs by, oh I don’t know, a gazillion for all it matters – the point is, it costs massive amounts of money to run the services that we all take for granted. But it’s ok, because they’re free, right?

No, they’re fully-funded.

You see, someone else is picking up the tab. So, who are our anonymous benefactors that afford us the privilege of streaming music, movies, social and cat videos? Yeah…those online adverts that you don’t like.

Now I’m making a big assumption here – but you know what, if you disagree, go ahead and let me know in the comments below – but I’m assuming that you like the fact that ‘the internet’ is free; and you don’t want to start paying for access to Facebook or YouTube et al.

So, let’s use this as a base. We’re accepting that for the internet to be free, someone’s got to pay for it and we’re ok with that being advertisers, yup? In that case, we have a couple of options.

  1. We have random adverts served arbitrarily to any and all users
  2. We have tailored adverts based on interests and things that we may be interested in

So I’m taking the position that adverts have a place. Sure, there are some rubbish products out there, but that’s a different issue. In this context, it’s a symbiotic relationship and if we appreciate the value and purpose or adverts, then we can realise that they’re actually saving us a chunk of money – so I’m good with them and hopefully, you feel a little better about them now too.

What’s your position? Let me know by leaving a comment below…