Posted as a reply to the recent "Weekly Walk of Shame" fool column: http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2010/03/10/weekly-walk-of-shame-apple.aspx You know, it's interesting. I use an ad-blocking proxy, Privoxy (dot org), which pretty well disables online ads without affecting the rest of the page content. Browser plugins like Adblock and AdAware perform a similar function. I use this function on my favorite websites, like the NY Times and the Fool, even though I know that doing so explicity breaks those sites' business model. It's a classic cooperate-or-defect scenario; I'm a defector.
For every 100 ads that get blocked, there's probably 1 ad that I would have enjoyed seeing, and maybe 1 in 1000 I would have clicked through and bought something.
It's true, however, that when I want to buy something or price comps, I no longer walk down to the corner newsstand, buy a paper, and open to the classified section. I just use the Internet. The amount of time I spend pricing and seeking goods has decreased exponentially, and I can get more good stuff for less money. Everyone knows that this is what the Internet is good for.
The holy grail of advertising these days is to use technology to deliver that 1-in-1000 ad to the correct person, the one who wants to buy it. Scattershot saturation of ads is the least efficient but most effective way to do it - show the ad to a million folks, and even if only 1 of them clicks through you may still win. But that encourages the development of ad blocking, making everyone lose.
Apple is famous for giving people what they want before they even know they want it. If anyone can patent and deliver the relevant technology to make this work - to make ads another value-added proposition - it's probably AAPL. Or GOOG. No wonder that rivalry is heating up. [more]
I have had, over the course of my life, the opportunity to come in contact with maybe 40 or 50 pretty remarkable people; people whom I met and felt they had great intelligence (180+ IQ), great work ethics, great personalities, and a great ability to be competent and well-rounded in nearly any endeavor they set their mind to. I met some of them at college, some through the Internet, some in my medical and other postgraduate education and training; some i met socially, and some I met over the internet. [more]