June 1, 2009
Posted: 12:45 PM ET
Much of the content you see online is paid for by advertisers.
But, as advertisers cut back, the very idea of how to advertise on the Internet is changing. And some Web sites are ditching the idea that ads alone can pay to keep free content rolling across cyberspace and onto your phone or computer screen.
This comes as hot tech companies like Twitter and Facebook are struggling to make money. At a recent conference in San Diego, Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams reportedly responded to questions about their business model by saying they're unsure if the micro-blogging site will be able to turn a profit. So far, ads haven't been part of the site's strategy, although there's speculation that could change.
Some online news sites are seeking funding from non-profits to pay their bills. Other sites want to make money by selling virtual goods (think of the $1 gifts you can give friends on Facebook), charging minimal subscription fees or making users pay for services.
It doesn't look like the end of ads is here. Internet ad sales for 2008 were up 10.6 percent, to $23.4 billion, according to a March report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the consulting firm.
There are signs, however, that companies are going about the business of online advertising in new ways. NYT has more on that, as does The Telegraph, which says ads will have to keep getting smarter - and know more about you - to be effective during this period of cutbacks.
What do you think? How will tech companies be able to make money? Is the ad model fine, is it finished or does it just need tweaking?
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