Until recently, the "end" of this Big Story was an anti-climax. The internet was a solution in search of a problem. It was as if someone had invented the can opener before someone else had invented the can. While huge multinational corporations were losing billions of dollars trying to move into this fourth generation, young nerds who were more at home in the culture were making millions of dollars. Jeff Bezos started selling books (that obsolete medium) on the internet and ended up with amazon.com. Pierre Omiyar started by selling trinkets collected by his girl-friend and ended up with eBay.com. However, those success stories created nothing really new. Amazon.com is the Walmart of the internet and eBay.com is a gigantic, global garage sale.|
Further, those success stories involve selling stuff. Was the internet not touted as a wonderful means of storing and transmitting information? At Amazon.com, the buyer pays; at eBay.com, the seller pays. Who is going to pay for information? After all, on the internet, information wants to be free or, more accurately, the people who inhabit the internet don't want to pay for it. The Google Guys have figured out how to provide you with the best information available on the internet and how to have advertisers pay for it [VISE & MALSEED]. Advertisers bid for words. The successful bidder for, let us say, the word COMPUTER will have his ad placed on the top right side of the screen every time someone types COMPUTER into the Google search box. The advertiser is happy because his ad is directed to a targeted audience (those who are, for whatever reason, interested in computers which he happens to sell). It turns out that it costs an advertiser under 10 dollars for each new customer compared with about 50 dollars when he advertises on television and 40 dollars when he advertises in a newspaper [BATTELLE]. Users are happy because they have access to the best and most relevant information on the left side of the screen and need never even glance across to the right side unless they are interested in buying a computer.
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