Supporting Your Web Page with Ad Revenue Less Tenable Than Ever

Remember when Google had no ads? Want to use Google without ever seeing an ad again? Just use Firefox and Greasemonkey and Customize Google.

In the war between web advertisers and web browsers who want to avoid ads, Greasemonkey is the freaking Manhattan Project. I installed it and saw what it could do and whispered, “I am become Death, the destroyer of ad revenue.”

So how can people ever afford to publish content on the web, if not via ad revenue?

Well… one way is by giving up control of the content. Bandwidth is expensive, if it’s bandwidth on a server you control. Bandwidth is cheap if you give up control and let people share in the task of distributing your stuff. Peer to peer technologies let you publish like crazy. Open source projects are never lacking for a dozen friendly mirror sites for their code. You got creative commons licensed content? No prob. Publish it on OurMedia or They’ll give you the storage. But you have to give up some control. Not all control. Just enough to make things easy on the sharers, to give them a stake, to give them some rights with regards to the stuff they’re helping you distribute.

That’s one way to do it anyway. There may be other ways. But the “Ad Revenue” trick is not seeming like a very viable option anymore, in light of the power of things like Greasemonkey.

A Force More Powerful

BreakAway Games:

Strategic non-violent warfare sounds like an oxymoron, but its practitioners say it is the most effective way to force regime change.

“It lets them try different things on the computer before they try them in the real world,” said Ivan Marovic, a consultant on the game, and a former Serbian student leader who helped organize the protests that ousted Slobodan Milosevic. “I wish I’d had it.”

Sponsored by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, the game, called “A Force More Powerful,” resembles a cross between a political science model and one of the popular city-builder games. The player represents the chief of staff of a non-violent resistance movement. He gives orders to various characters within the movement, who will attempt to carry out actions such as making speeches and organizing demonstrations.

The non-player-characters are rated for factors such as willpower and ambition. “There is a balancing act between the different egos and wills of the individuals involved,” said Bob McNamara, a producer at Breakaway Games, a Hunt Valley, Md., developer of entertainment games and military simulations. “They will always attempt to carry out your orders, but if they don’t like the task, the chances of success will be modified. We wanted to capture the dynamic of the fact that you’re in a movement of volunteers, and they won’t always do what you say.”

The game’s artificial intelligence controls the members of the targeted regime, who can be persuaded or bribed to become neutral or even defect.

“Governments are not monolithic,” said McNamara. “Suppose you have a regime character who is intolerant of violence. If that person were to see the regime use violent repression, he might become disgusted. Or suppose the regime is conscious of its international image, whether for aesthetic or economic reasons. If one of the regime members is a businessman with a lot of international business ties, then going to the international community to put pressure on him might work.”

“A general will not shoot demonstrators if support for the regime is too low,” agreed Marovic, who has advised pro-democracy movements in Georgia and Ukraine. “This happened in the Ukraine, where the security forces changed sides.”