Vube.com is the latest in the “free services advertising” model of web sites that exist primarily to serve up ads to us.
The Internet has taken over the world in astonishingly little time. If you, like me, were an adult in the 1980s or even by the early 1990s, you likely remember a life without the Internet. The Netscape Browser and the World Wide Web didn’t exist until around 1994, and that means that we’ve gone from a text-based Internet to having smartphones in our pockets in about 20 years. That’s amazing.
The world of translation services, just like every other industry, was completely transformed by the Internet and the Web, and today I can work from my home office and transmit documents via Internet all day long. In general, the effect of the Internet on just about every aspect of our lives has been more or less positive, but there are some unpleasant side effects. One of these is the fact that most of the services we’re using today are services second, and advertising channels first. Vube.com is a prime example.
In the Old World, television and radio were your main advertising channels. You watched a TV show, and there was the implicit requirement to watch the commercials that paid for that show. The theory was that creators would make their shows better and better in order to get as many eyeballs as possible so as to charge more for the commercial time. In practice, there was a lot of really awful television on the air.
Today, those eyeballs have moved. We fast-forward through commercials when we watch TV at home, so advertising is shifting to the Internet, where our eyeballs are. And that means that the new model that’s risen to dominance, even in services I use for language translation, is the Free With Ads model.
Consider Vube.com: Someone noticed that YouTube gets about a billion unique visitors a month. That’s a lot of eyeballs, and thus a lot of advertising revenue. So, Vube.com offers a free service similar to YouTube: Upload and share your videos. Vube.com promises some minimal promotion for your channel, ease of use, and free video distribution – as an extra twist, it offers prize money to the most popular videos. So if you’re a struggling musician or film-maker, Vube not only offers you the chance to have your work seen, it might even offer some income.
In exchange, it sells ads that pop up when people view your videos. There’s nothing wrong with this model, but it changes the way you view things when you realize that all of these services are essentially enormous advertising channels. Call it the Facebook Model: People think they’re getting a free service. What they’re really getting is a lot of advertising flooded into their lives.
Of course, they also get the service promised, so it’s not a bad deal, really. Although I do think a time is coming when the ad revenues won’t be enough, and one by one these services will start charging fees – and by then they’ll have all of our content imprisoned on their servers. Food for thought.
Image courtesy seoclerk.com