The Internet is broken. What is wrong with it?

Revenue is often based on clicks and views

For an established news media who are struggling with readership levels and profit margins, clickbait and often “fake news” have become common as they can be extremely valuable in term of generating traffic.

The quality of content suffers

Organizations have to worry more about attracting interest than telling the real story. They are incentivized to show people more divisive and content – content which provokes visceral or emotional responses, and therefore more clicks.

It's easy to influence a user's perception

Often, those seeing the content have no idea who has put it there for them to see. This can have serious real-world repercussions, for example affecting democratic election processes.

The original Tim-Berners Lee model for the Internet was designed for academic rather than commercial use. A small number of tech giants have become, in Berners-Lee’s words, surveillance platforms and gatekeepers of innovation. Tim’s solution, with his new company Inrupt, is to allow consumers to store their own behavioural data in “pods” which the consumer owns and can pass on to companies if they wish. Bubblr’s solution is to not store this data in the first place – there is no need to store your personal data to pass to advertisers to profile you.

The dot com bubble forced Google to adopt an advertising model that has continued to deteriorate. Larry Page and Sergey Bryn once said, “Advertising-funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of consumers.” The established online advertising and marketing systems (generically known as Ad-Tech) have a lot of problems, and these problems are getting worse. It is too difficult to use, and riddled with fraud to the tune of $81bn per year in 2022 and growing.

Content providers get paid so little that the quality of content suffers, as they to worry more about chasing clicks and eyeballs than telling the real story. This leads to ‘fake news’, clickbait, personal data abuse, and ever more radical content. It is becoming ever more difficult to generate ad revenue from mobile devices, and mobile devices are becoming the most popular devices to access the Internet. Likewise, content providers are finding it ever more challenging to generate revenue from mobile page views.

Social media platforms use their algorithms to show users divisive content designed to provoke anger – the emotion which most effectively increases engagement. This generates more user content, and increases eyeballs and clicks, increasing revenues for their platforms. They are effectively radicalizing audiences in their attempts to make money from them, doing untold social damage.

Small businesses cannot compete with larger companies because the cost of using Google or Facebook for marketing leads is exorbitant. Anecdotal evidence is showing small businesses have to spend at least $3k per month for six months to get any ROI. Consequently, they are forced to use single-market app platforms that can take over 30% of order costs to get online marketing leads.

The current internet model, with a captive audience mainly using the same small set of browsers and social media sites, is open to exploitation by bad actors. This can have serious real-world repercussions, for example affecting democratic election processes. Disinformation by bad actors (Russia, China and Iran) has a direct impact on western democracies.