Content is King?

Jan 19, 2004 - 10:42 am 2 by
Filed Under Link Building

In 1996, Bill Gates published an article entitled Content is King. His premise was that on the Internet, content sites - not ecommerce sites - would be generating the bulk of the income.

Although my response to Bill's assertion is laid out in an rant suitable titled Content isn't King, I'd like to make a few points here on SE Roundtable.

Bill's Theory Mr Gates states, "Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting".

TV and Radio broadcasting generates revenue because it's expensive to operate a TV or radio station. The shows aired on TV is uniquely expensive as well. They can charge a premium because of it. Publishing on the web, however, is free.

And when it's easy to do, everybody does it. This brings the price down. Supply and demand. Doctors only get paid what they do because there are fewer of them. If every other person had the skills to be a doctor, they'd be making minimum wage like content publishers.

Bill goes on, "within a year the mechanisms will be in place that allow content providers to charge just a cent or a few cents for information. If you decide to visit a page that costs a nickel, you won't be writing a check or getting a bill in the mail for a nickel. You'll just click on what you want, knowing you'll be charged a nickel on an aggregated basis."

Can you imagine? Paying for content?

Bill's last line gives him away -

"Those who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products-a marketplace of content. "

"Ideas"? No. Ideas are still a dime a dozen. Ditto for experiences.

You can't charge for content. The consumer will go elsewhere. CPM for banner advertising is at an all time low. Most advertisers simply are not interested in banner ads. Advertisers want to pay for performance. And even pay per performance isn't paying much. Five cents per click through. Ten cents. Twenty five cents or even a dollar. It really doesn't matter because the consumers aren't clicking through.

Case in Point is a little content site. Some 4,460 pages currently in Google's index. The site averages 2,000+ uniques per day. The Adsense earnings of the site aren't enough to fund my daily Starbucks run. Sure, there have been offers from dealers to buy advertising on the site. At five cents per click, I didn't figure it was worth my time to respond.

An identical site belonging to a Kawasaki dealer generates less traffic. Less traffic, but over $2 million in sales per year.

Content is King? Naw.

Here's a link to the forum thread:Bill Was Wrong


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