April 14, 2004

Monetizing Attention

I googled for the exact phrase "monetizing attention" the other day and was amazed that there are no -- nada -- zero -- search results for the phrase. I tried alternates: "monetizing my attention", "monetizing user attention", "monetizing your attention" -- nope. Nothing. Stumped Google.*

I can't believe nobody's talked about this online. Ever? Weird.

What I mean by it is the idea of figuring out how to achieve more flips. Nicholas Negroponte famously once wrote of how stuff that's currently beamed as radio signals through the air would evolve to travel through wires and cables, while stuff that currently travels through wires and cables would be beamed through the air. In other words, a big flip. We are in the middle of the Negroponte Switch. (Can you say Wi-Fi?)

Another flip, one that Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute has been speaking of for years and years, is the notion of driving your car for free energy --- you drive around all day, and then at the end of the day you park your car in the garage, connect it to the outlet in the wall, and the excess energy built up in the car batteries gets sent out to the grid, the power company, who pays you a fee for that energy. Instead of you paying ExxonMobil to drive your car, they pay you! Flip!

The flip I'm interested in is, instead of me paying the cable modem company and the ISP for the privilege of spending hours surfing the web, participating in online conferences, etc., the web pays me for my time, my attention. If not directly, indirectly. By indirectly, I mean, I figure out a way to earn something for spending the time reading all the stuff in the first place.

So as an experiment, I've set up a new blog, W.N.O.T.W. (www.wnotw.com) --- which means "What's New On The WELL". Since I spend a lot of time on The WELL, the conferencing community that just had its 19th birthday, and I pay $15/month to be there, I'm going to see about trying to get that time and those fees to pay for themselves by investing a little bit more time to jot down interesting stuff I read about there and share it with the world. In a way, this is like doing an Alphaville Herald of The WELL. (Ironically, the Alphaville Herald is done by a WELL user!)

We'll see how it goes.

*UPDATE 20:24: It turns out there are four results for "monetize attention", just none for "monetizing attention". Posted by brian at April 14, 2004 03:03 PM


So... always trying to be just a little to the left or right of mainstream. Try "Monetizing eyeballs" http://a9.com/monetizing%20eyeballs

Posted by: dano at April 14, 2004 11:21 PM

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