Since 2000, the internet has had a 581% growth rate amongst new users, with an estimated 2,267,233,742 people accessing the web in 2011. Yet in the early 1990’s, many did not envisage this to be possible. They did not understand the full potential of the internet and the possible revolution it would soon create.
In the Silicon Valley, this was seemingly not the case. With many university students and entrepreneurs competing to create programs and software that had the possibility to change the world, and subsequently earn them millions. In the second installment of Download: The history of the internet, journalist John Heileman explores the creation of the first search engine: Yahoo, and the creation of its rivals and successors.
Proclaimed to be the ‘web search miracle’, the creation of the first search engine undoubtedly revolutionized the way humans think. Beginning like most great ideas; in the minds of ambitious university students, was the idea of ‘Yahoo‘. Created by electrical engineering drop-outs; Jerry Yang and David Filo, the creation of Yahoo sparked the search engine revolution.
Although trafficking millions through their website, Yahoo had one substantial problem, how were they going to make money?Like many great websites, Yahoo had to succumb to the evils of Advertising.
Unfortunately, In our present day, I see this occurring more rapidly amongst websites that were initially ad-free. Websites such as YouTube, have traded their minimal advertising schemes, for more invasive techniques. With advertising being shoved down consumers throats at every cyberspace corner.
Drowning in advertising investments, it seemed that Yahoo began to lose touch of what its users really wanted. This glitch in Yahoo’s armour, allowed for competitors such as Google to rise to power. Yet facing the same advertising dilemma,Google needed to make a profit whilst avoiding the advertising rabbit hole.
Lending ideas from Bill Gross, Google reinvented the way that we view and interact with internet advertising today. They not only made their advertisements more sophisticated than Yahoos ‘banner ads’ and pop-ups, but they made them ‘user-specific’. They created an engine that would soon become one of the most ‘efficient market research tools’ available.
At the end of the day, advertising seems to be unavoidable in our proudly capitalist society. So if this is the case, wouldn’t you prefer advertisements that were tailor-suited to your interests, rather than spam that bombarded you with irrelevant and often corrupt content?