A new hard-nosed commercialism is spreading over the Internet. Users are increasingly being asked to pay for information and services, while advertising is becoming more intrusive. The backlash has already begun.
... the Internet is being transformed from a vast repository of mostly free content into a commercial cauldron where almost everything is for sale. ... ads leap out from all over the place ... Yahoo will exploit users' personal information ... Making money on the Internet is not easy, especially from advertising.
... pop-up, pop-under ads irritate many users, but site operators have no choice. ...
If the Internet has a soul, it is the vast pool of information which people can explore, usually using one of the web's many free search engines. Now even search engines have become vehicles for marketing products and gathering information on individual surfers. ...
The most effective strategies and business models are still far from clear. Aggressive, in-your-face advertising seems to be working ... If users do not want to be hounded and harrassed by advertising, they may have to pay subscriptions for their favourite sites, just as they do for newspapers, magazines or cable-TV stations.
The Internet may be a mould-breaking new medium but, like all the media that came before it, someone has to pay for it, and that usually means, one way or another, users.
The Internet sells its soul | The Economist