Archived Story

Editorial: The Internet must monetize itself

Published 10:11am Thursday, December 27, 2012

It was not surprising to hear that Instagram, an online photo-sharing company, updated its terms of service to allow it to provide to advertisers the photos taken by users. And it was not surprising to learn that the users got angry over the policy change. A class-action lawsuit even was filed in California.

Instagram, owned by Facebook, backed off and said it would return to its original terms of service regarding ads. In a nutshell, users didn’t want photos they take at a restaurant to be used in advertising by the restaurant.

But these angry users one day must come to understand the Internet is changing. And it must change.

There are so many sites providing cool, handy and user-friendly services at no cost to users and at losses or mild profits for themselves that something has got to give. Investors have been patient with the Internet and its offerings, but what purpose does it serve for websites to give so much at no cost forever? None.

In fact, that’s a major knock on the Internet. The users don’t embrace capitalism the way they accept it in the real world. If you want a service, like trash removal, people pay. If Internet users want an online service, like photo sharing, they want it for free and without ads.

If the world is going to continue to increase its use of the Internet, websites need to find ways to monetize themselves. Companies are forced to find ways to maximize revenue. And who can blame them? Salaries don’t pay themselves.