The need for an internet that makes sense
Till Faida, eyeo’s founder and CEO shares his view on some of the challenges and solutions in moving towards a sustainable internet
When starting any serious conversation on the ‘internet’ and its role today, I can’t help but first think about accessibility and how important it is, both societally and on an individual level, to have a web that is as wide spread and free as possible, an internet that “makes sense.” The internet is one of the most ingenious public resources and yet, right now, we are witnessing that its livelihood is in trouble. There are some serious and fundamental underlying problems that have not been solved and that come from the way the internet was designed, affecting that very idea of accessibility.
The internet is broken
That the internet is broken is a reality, and we can see the signs. Advertising is, so far, the only way to monetize content that works at scale. But in its current state, it fails to work as the economic backbone that funds diverse, high-quality content. The marketplace is dominated by companies that are building walled gardens, revenues for everyone else are declining, expensive content like high-quality journalism disappears or is moving behind paywalls.
Increasing tracking leads to more regulations and developments such as cookie notifications; content becomes less convenient and less accessible and the user experience suffers. We came into this status quo to disrupt it, to change it.
At eyeo, we have searched from the beginning of our existence to find ways to create an internet that makes sense. We have never abandoned that mission, set originally as a small team in Cologne years before, and it still governs everything we do today as our company grows.
So what makes sense online? How do we keep the web free, user friendly and profitable? How do we get from an unstable ecosystem–where users, advertisers and publishers who actually depend on one another but are often at odds–to a healthy one?
For a healthy ecosystem to exist, publishers need a way to create and to distribute content profitably, users want convenient access to content that is valuable to them at an agreeable price and advertisers want to reach a large audience at a positive return on the advertising spend. We believe that information, access and content should be free for everyone, but that the people responsible for bringing what is amazing about the web to us should also be able to sustain their side of the equation without having to compromise user experience.
It’s no secret that a fair and intelligent value exchange is crucial to that solution. Questions of compensation can be tricky. Some people take them as an obvious nod to greed or big publishers cashing in or, conversely, as users expecting the web to be completely free without giving anything back.
A fair and sustainable value exchange is crucial
Thus, the sustainability mentioned above: an internet that ‘makes sense’ would enable continued diversity and accessibility by not neglecting any side of the equation in the online ecosystem. Along with our products and services, we also try to achieve this through collaboration and community. Finding partnerships with like-minded companies, getting in on the ground-level with innovative products (those of our own ideation and those of others), and forming relationships with outstanding individuals and thinkers who also see sustaining the free web as a calling and a mission.
Strategies of developing online stability should not shake down publishers, nor neglect users, nor make it impossible for advertisers. Often, the term that most resounds and can be seen as the backbone of all our products and services is ‘balance’. This striving for balance will help us pave a sustainable path for our communal online future. We will continue to support the vision of an internet as a global public resource that is free and open for everyone.