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Amazon has filed patents for "Incorporating Advertising in On-Demand Generated Content." The technology will allow context-sensitive ads to appear on your kindle, perhaps in exchange for a lower price for your literature. One can imagine pages like this:
Best Buy and TiVo are forming an alliance — Best Buy will heavily promote TiVo's set-top box, while TiVo will develop a box that will let the retailer advertise its offerings on TiVo subscribers' home TVs. Google continues to add to the capabilities it gives away for free, most notably by announcing that Chrome will become an operating system, potentially threatening Microsoft's ability to charge for Windows. But Microsoft is getting good feedback on Bing, its rival to Google, which bloggers think has potential to begin to replace the company's operating system revenue with ad sales. And new startups appear daily with the intent of attracting an audience for free content and adding advertising later.
One has to ask: how much advertising can an economy sustain?
The push for share of voice has created an arms race, where brands spend more and more to hold on their share of a slowly growing market. Like housing prices, this will sustain itself until someone — that is, the buyer — walks away from the table.
Of course it makes sense that Google, Amazon, et al must create the capabilities that allow advertising to migrate from mass media to searched media. But the current explosion of advertising-supported businesses is leading to the next dot-com bust — only this time it will be ad-supported businesses, not e-commerce startups, that collapse.