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Re: RFD: Advertising on Internet mailing list

In article <2mbfd4$8qi@agate.berkeley.edu>,
Brian Behlendorf <bbehlen@soda.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>In article <CMr6JL.LCv@cee.hw.ac.uk>,
>Keith Braithwaite <cstkb@vaxb.hw.ac.uk> wrote:
>>In article <2m6b1b$lqg@agate.berkeley.edu>, bbehlen@soda.berkeley.edu
>>(Brian Behlendorf) writes:
>>|>postings (which is just as easy for individuals to do, too)?  Or that
>>|>the big nasty Capitalist grandsons of railroad barons of yesteryear
>>|>are going to snarf up all the backbone, making it the Information
>>I can see it. You _have_ heard of capitalism? Private ownership of the 
>>means of production? It hasn't exactly gone out of fashion.
>The cost of the means of production has gone WAAAY down.  Now anyone
>can get online for $20/month with various services and be an online
>publisher with almost no limit as to the possible propogation and
>market for their product.  It can only get cheaper, too - if one
>company ever came to own a large portion or majority of the wires used
>to carry traffic, if they increased their rates people would simply
>switch to a different carrier (similarly if a company came to be the
>major service provider - witness the exodus of people from Prodigy and

It costs about $1/megabyte to feed news, almost all of that going to
the telephone company (uunet 800 number for comparison purposes).  If
commercial advertising was restricted to comp.newprod and biz.*, I
could choose not to pay to receive it.  When it is mixed in with
regular stuff that I am interested in, I don't have that choice, I
can't kill before feeding, nor can I screen my email for stuff from
people that troll for usernames.

Usenet advertising only appears cheap because the sender only pays to
to transport to the distribution point, the rest of us pay to read it.

If the advertisers had some way to reimburse me for the cost of
getting their ad, I wouldn't scream so loud. but right now I pay
(usage sensitive) to get my news, and I have this funny idea that if
someone wants to send me an unsolicited product blurb, they have to
pay for it.  Imagine how you would feel if the boiler room timeshared
pork future vitamin salesman called collect and your answering machine
accepted the charges and recorded the pitch without you able to stop
them.  Yes, this is implausible, but there is a real equivalent --
remember all the furor over junk faxes?  the recipient has to pay the
cost of supplies to print the fax, solicited or not.

There is a model of advertising accepting computer message systems,
Prodigy. The $14.95/month doesn't cover the communication charges, let
alone all the personnel and capital.  Like the newspapers, whose
$8.00/copy real cost is not matched by the $0.35 cover price, most of
Prodigy's revenue comes from renting half the pixels on your screen to
advertisers.  Posting an advertisement on Prodigy is not part of the
basic membership, the advertisers pay prices comparable to other
national media.  On Prodigy, like with your newspaper, you aren't the
customer, you are the product.