In a previous post, I said (about modern news outlets) “The result is a “product” that has no chance at measuring up …” I feel it is worthwhile to take a moment to discuss the understanding of what the product actually is. Ostensibly, the product of news reporting are news articles. If that had been true, however, clickbait and listicles would not be allowed to be; in that understanding, they are not only not good at delivering the product, they are outrageously bad at it. What, then, is the product?
I would contend that you, the reader, are the product. If that is true, who, then, are the customers? The answer is ad agencies, who are after receptive audiences for the products they have to sell. This is summed up as follows: “If you’re not paying for it, you are the product”. There is an argument to be made that you are paying for it, through the bandwidth with which you download the ads, and the time you spend looking at them (and potentially buying), and while there is some truth to that, it is not clear to me that you are not the product.
That, of course, begs the question; if you are not paying for this blog, what is the product? You will have to be the judge of that; from my point of view, the product is the content I write. I offer up the advice and commentary on this blog for a number of reasons. Firstly, I enjoy writing, and the blog lets me get my writings out there, so that whoever may be interested can read it. Second, I believe that information should be freely available (that’s free as in freedom, not as in beer), and want to make sure that some of the information I have to offer can be accessed for free (that would be free as in beer).
Third, the blog is a good way for me to promote myself and I was hired to both my current and my former positions in part due to the writings found here. Finally; I do have ads on the blog, and there is some revenue to be gained from them. My goal with the ads is to cover the costs of hosting the site, and that goal is being met.