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What they didn't count on, however, was that "free" mentality of online consumers brought with it a built-in resistance to actually paying for *anything* online. And that included products and services offered by these high-paying advertisers. Disillusioned with disappointing return from their online advertising ventures, advertisers began to cut back their online advertising budgets and, lo and behold, website owners experienced dwindling revenues. Dwindling revenues meant they couldn't service exorbitant finance costs associated with their oh-so-generous venture capital loans, VCs finally woke up to reality that money was generated online in just same way as it was generated offline (payment for products and services) and decided to cut their losses, calling up loans. Mega web-based businesses went out of business left, right and center, finally culminating in great e-commerce shakeout of 2000.
So, for those with web sites and ezines providing information and relying in large part upon advertising revenues to make profits, (temporary) advertising squeeze has created something of a challenge. If these publishers don't receive a return on their investment from advertising revenue, what happens? Yep - they start looking for alternative sources of revenue and that means charging end user. Such sacrilege!
Well, I'm here to say it's nothing of sort. Of course we should pay for what we use. Western nations are capitalist societies of capitalist consumers. Why on earth should we expect someone to put in time and effort of providing a valuable service or product without compensation? Do we really think that all those great web sites out there are nothing but a hobby for their hard-working owners? Some of them are, admittedly, but many belong to hardworking people, wanting to provide a valuable product or service but yet get paid for their efforts. By someone. If not advertisers, then all that's left are end users ... those who, when all is said and done, directly benefit from service.
So, what does this great counter-revolution mean for you and your business? Well, for you, it means get used to idea of paying for what you use online, just as you do offline. For your information- based business, if you're not generating enough income from advertisers, it means get used to idea of charging for your content. And don't apologize. You work hard and are entitled to be paid for it.
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical home business ideas for the work-from-home entrepreneur. http://www.ahbbo.com