The Future Of Monetization And Money On The Internet

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Monetization in information delivery and communications platform. By Patricia Handschiegel (Founder & CEO, 9)

Monetization in information delivery and communications platform business has remained the same through decades, including with multiple disruptive new platforms and innovation. While it’s true that some things can change in innovation, often the core business truisms generally remain the same. Case in point: the steam engine replaced the paddle-powered boat, but it did not change that boats are boats, what boats do, or the core elements of how the boating business runs.

Just the same, disruptive technologies and innovations do change and shift people and things, but old platforms rarely completely die - decades after the invention of the plastic card for payments, and electronic payments thereafter, has not changed that some still pay for things widely with paper checks.

It’s not to say that disruptions don’t change the world - they certainly do. But it’s often how, what and when, and rarely the bottom line basics of business, such as revenue models. There are always exceptions, but rarely.

Monetization in information delivery and communications platform business has always been very distinct and very different. Information delivery’s models rarely worked in communications platform business, and vice versa. That’s because they’re two very different businesses. The internet platform is unique in that it combines both of these unique worlds in one single, seamless platform. Yet even with as disruptive as that is in itself, the two worlds will generally sit in tandem sharing the platform moreso than anything changing about the basic truisms of monetization in either platform business.

Currently, the software side of the internet business - websites, apps, information, etc. - has chosen (not driven to choose) the ad-only model in monetization. Not only has ad-only model rarely been predominant in platform business, but it’s also the weakest model of all (hence why it’s rarely used). Further, it’s also not the correct or ideal fit for communications and other utilities/services over platforms, which is why applying it to both has not widely worked - or worked enough - to truly make those who sit in that space the kind of money needed.

For as wide and vast as the internet platform is and can be, it does not change this.

But increasingly, more on the software side are starting to learn the above, and adjust the offerings accordingly. In the coming years ahead will even be moreso, and what had been essentially the wrong approach will right itself, much to everybody’s benefit. While it may seem that corporate greed drives all of the above, it’s actually the consumer. "Free" and cheap is not the only thing of value to consumers and has never been in any business — this too will remain true here. The infrastructure side of the internet platform (carriers, cable companies) has never made the mistake. It’s been business as usual there.

Meanwhile, what will quite possibly be the most revolutionary and exciting element is the flexibility, ease and availability of payment — the internet platform is designed to go into everything, and create a unified, seamless environment. Imagine paying your utilities with a touch of a button at your thermostat in your home, purchasing gasoline for your car without ever having to touch the pump. The always-on, everywhere, and always accessible platform that the internet is, will also bring your ability to pay for things right along with you, easier than ever.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that the world of physical stores, goods, etc. will completely eliminate. That’s a naive mindset — we will never be able to remove ourselves from being physical beings in a physical world, and so while the physical world we are in will change, just as with platform business itself, many things are solid truisms that have never, and likely will never, go anywhere.

It’s worth a note that this could all be much further along, if the software side would expand its mind and vision and create it. It’ll only be a matter of time. When it does, the world it will create is going to be so exciting. Likely two to four years.

This post was originally posted at 9 blog.

Photo credit: Sean Hobson on Flickr. About the guest blogger: Patricia Handschiegel is Founder and CEO of 9, a multi-platform media company making things in internet, media, entertainment business, including digital magazine Condiment. She is a serial media and internet entrepreneur with a background in internet telecom engineering and information delivery/communications platform business. She founded social media pioneer Stylediary in 2004, which grew to more than 72 countries before being acquired in 2007.