Ok, seriously. The things I would do if I had a few million bucks. I’m amazed to no end how many things about the internet kind of suck. Things that you’d think would be easy to fix, but for whatever reason nobody gets around to fixing them.
First company that I need to bash is YouTube. Seriously, Google buys you for 1.6 BILLION dollars and what’s the first thing you do? Stick your head in the sand. How come there aren’t any cool features, or you know, like standard features coming your way. Why do you always screw up the audio/video sync on EVERY video I upload?
Another prime example — they STILL only support 4:3 video. More and more cameras coming out support widescreen, and many of the new CCD sizes are actually 3:2, not 4:3. All new camcorders over a few hundred dollars have 16:9 modes in them, so why isn’t there any thought going into how to show them? I think YouTube is cool, but let’s be honest, it’s not difficult technology. I imagine underneath it all there’s a big storage facility with a bunch of computing nodes just running basic conversion scripts to put everything into flash. Then, just slap a UI on it to show flash videos and you’re basically done. Kudos to them for doing it, but now that they have some money, take it up a notch.
The same thing happened to Flickr when Yahoo! acquired them. They were cool, they were nimble, and in my mind they really started the whole Web 2.0 AJAX-In-Your-Face movement, or at least brought a lot of lime light to it. But I haven’t seen too much from these guys either. They did just come out with a way to edit your photos online, which is sort of cool (although frankly, it’s fairly slow, so I can’t see too many people using this). But that’s really the first real change I’ve seen in like two years. What else are they doing over there?
How about internet business models? You know what, advertising sucks. I hate it, my friends hate it. I don’t want to sign up for a discover card, I don’t want to click on your adsense. I’m tired of scrolling past all the ads at the fold on blogs, or paging on the same article just so you can put more ads there.
You know what, here’s the internet business model of the future. Don’t put ads up and charge people for that. You know why? I’d gladly pay $15 for a service I like just to not have any ads anywhere. A prime example is Flickr. You can use it when it’s free, but they add a few small perks to a paid account, and get rid of all the ads. Done and done. I’ve been a happy customer for years now.
What’s that Facebook, need to make some money? Make another level of service, and charge all those people $20 a year — pawn it off as only $1.60 a month, half of a cup of Starbucks expresso. Let people pay their bills with their cell phones, using a SMS or something. Get rid of the ads and all that social-advertising garbage you’re trying on that level. Just let people interact and be entertained.
Social networks, photo by Luc Legay
Everyone seems to be stuck with the whole idea that the way to make money with a large user base is to just advertise them to death. What ever happened to like, you know, real business models, where you provide a useful service to someone and they pay you for it? Why can’t we do that anymore?