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The business model of the Internet

The web has become, for the majority of its users, a set of services. Aside from online merchants, rare subscription-based newspapers, and even rarer community sites, all services live through advertising. The desire for free is the “original sin” that leads to many excesses of the current Internet.


The schema distinguishes 3 types of commercial services, but in reality, one has always to do with a mixture in variable proportions, of these 3 types. The user pays a service by the sum of:

  • Money he pays to a “Type 1” service for a product or service he buys, rents, or subscribes to. These services have historically been the first ones on the Internet. But users were not willing to pay for certain services (including the press) to access online articles. Not to mention the means of payment of the time were unsuitable.
  • Attention he devotes to advertising on “Type 2” services, which are typically newspapers (blogs, or others) attracting enough audience to live from the sale of space. In the real world, only free newspapers, full of ads and advertising pages can be free. On the Internet, the economy on paper makes it possible to refer to more editorial content. With some limitations like the “premium” articles.
  • Personal data he provides to “Type 3” services, which allow the advertising network to personalize the ads displayed on “Type 2” sites. The services of “Type 3” are a subject apart, which deserves a page on its own.

The advertising network is the link between the 3 types of services.