26.01.22 | 2 mins


An absolutely unsustainable model.
By Vicente Ocaña, Nacho Rodríguez, Miguel Gómez

Let’s talk about this page. Apart from its humorous tone, it also raises a relevant reflection: the “All-Free-Internet” model of consumption of written content that was planted in the 90s, that obtains revenues based on clicks and banners, is totally unsustainable.

Users have become (mis) accustomed to this free everything, and detest being asked to pay for reading or viewing content. Efforts to change this inertia and recover a less invasive system that financially compensates publishers and content creators do not work. Or they are even perceived as ethically questionable techniques: for example, collecting user data without the user’s knowledge.


Start and end screens of ‘How I experience web today’

When we browse a page full of banners, ads, chats, subscriptions, CTAs… we think of an editor trying to get their head above water to make the many hours of work needed to produce an article viable. The YouTube model seems to work better, although it involves even more work and ads can sometimes be skipped after 5 seconds. And in fact, we almost always ignore and skip them. And in fact, we almost always cut them off.


Advertisement structure on the YouTube platform

What are the alternatives?

  • Subscriptions with a monthly, annual, recurrent or punctual payment method, like the case of Medium, always comes in handy.
  • Micro-payments per session, article, week, course and experience. In this sense, there should be a more alternative and agile payment method that doesn’t redirect you to another page to get charged 0,35 € each time you want to read an article.
  • We believe in transparent and honest product placements when the author is clear about it: “Today’s content is sponsored by Zapiens”.
  • Games or freemium apps can be used to obtain credits by watching its ads. Game platforms are very efficient to obtain more credits to continue playing. It’s similar to the advertising visualization system on YouTube (one or two ads per 20 minutes of content) although it becomes abusive when the user is required to watch 20 seconds of ads after each turn or mission completed.

Episode “Out of the Past” from the series Altered Carbon

What other new business models could we design? At Zapiens we are passionate about rethinking the established and designing brands, businesses and experiences that make us question what we know. If that’s what you’re looking for: business@zapiensdesign.com


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