October 26, 2018
How web pages are paid for
As an old webby guy, I know that web pages aren't free. That is, they cost real money. There has to be real computers, with real people keeping them running, with real electricity, and real hard costs. Web pages, like the site I've had since the late nineties, bradhallart.com are paid for by people like me, and cost me several hundred dollars a year, paid yearly. There are other costs, like updating the software that I need to create them, which is also several hundred dollars a year. It's the cost of doing business for someone like me, who has been in the graphic design business for a long time. And it really is your best investment for your business, in my opinion. That is, if you're in business.
Of course, most people don't know anything about that, nor should they. The average person who surfs the web sees it all as free, and it is, to them. It's like walking around a mall - there's no charge for that. You can look all you want, for free.
So that's how web pages like mine are paid for. The other way, which is much, much bigger, is advertising, which is what supports things like Facebook. In spite of the fact that everybody I talk to says that they block ads, and don't respond to them, it's still a billion-dollar business. I leave the ads here on this blog, mostly just so I can learn more about how they work. On Google, it's called Adsense, which is Adwords for advertisers. And as someone who grew up with free radio, and free TV, I've seen a lot of ads. In fact, people like me can remember the jingles from TV ads that we saw as kids (which for me was quite a while ago!).
Paying for something that's free seems like a strange concept, but I see people do that. In fact, I'm one of those people. I pay a subscription fee to a company that lets me watch stuff on the web without commercials. Of course I don't have to, I can watch stuff for free on the web, but I decided that it was worth a certain amount of my dollars to not have to put up with ads. I'm glad that I have the choice, but it's not for everyone.
I know that there are hard dollar costs associated with content on the web. I know that there are real people like me, paying real dollars, to create content, and web pages, and videos. And I understand that most of it is paid for with advertising, which pops up, and interrupts. But the fact remains that, in spite of the complaining, most people would rather get advertising-supported free content than to pay anything at all, even a dollar a month, even if they could easily afford it. In fact, for years the biggest horror story that I've see on Facebook is that there might be a charge for it, like ten dollars a month. But that's not gonna happen, because even a subscription fee of several hundred dollars a month for users wouldn't begin to match the amount of money that advertising brings them.
I hope this helps. And I don't want to become skeptical, or distrustful, but there really is no such thing as free, it's just that someone else is paying for it. My first lesson on this happened when I was five years old, and started understanding that my dad was paying for my food. When I studied economics in college I learned more about how it all works, and I've continued my studies, and will continue to do so.
Posted by Brad Hall