My Intertunnel compadre Gerard is a wag. I met him once. Someone asked him how to make a website pay. He said the only way he knew to make a website pay was to make it a website devoted to advice on how to make a website pay.
I looked at the Intertunnel over the weekend on someone else's laptop. I don't have a laptop. They asked me what I was doing; what are you looking at on that thing? I wasn't looking at anything, really. I was looking at everything and nothing, to see how it looked. What impression I might get from it.
People talk a lot about how the Intertunnel has upended the applecart of commerce in writing. True dat. But not in the way you might think.
I was amazed when I used another man's laptop, because I saw all sorts of stuff I never see. It was an Apple, so everything was exactly wrong and backwards, and so was easy to figure out. I had no idea all that advertising was on the webs. I never see it. I can't imagine how the average advertiser thinks they're getting any bang for their buck buying advertising by the impression.
We used the laptop to display video that was advertising. It's not sneaky. It was de facto advertising, we looked for it, and we watched it. I'm not sure it was efficacious either, as we never use the service being advertised, but we at least looked at it. It's a start. Apparently there's a Progressive Insurance ad on the page that displays the statistics for my blog. Apparently they charge someone to not show it to me, because I'd never seen it before.
It's all broken except it works somehow. I don't see any starlets missing any meals even though every kid with a computer knows how to steal movies. They've still got more than cornflakes and peanut butter in the company lunchroom at the New York Times, I imagine.
One of the mistakes being made by everyone is thinking that there is any kind of line between news and entertainment. I don't read any newspapers because I can't find out anything useful from them, and they are deuced poor entertainment. They remind me of watching a Health Class short film warning you about Polio. The topic is irrelevant and so the information is useless and so all that's left is the entertainment value in it. If you're a hipster doofus you can make a website devoted to how wry watching pointless stuff is, but that's about the sum of the entertainment you can get out of it.
It's not fun to collect and distribute real information. It's hard work, but you can charge for it. Dun and Bradstreet collects all sorts of real, hard information about companies. If you read their gathered information about those companies, you could make real, hard decisions about how you might interact with those companies, as a investor or a consumer or a competitor. And if you want D & B to tell you what they know, they'd like $139, right now, up front, no fooling.
Amuse yourself on the Internet. There's nothing else to do here but howl gigantic curses into the ether, or post pictures of your cat. If you think your content is worth money, charge for it and reap the tumbleweeds or the treasure. But for god sakes, stop whining.