Big Ideas from a Small World

Hotspot the new doom of advertising online. *Yawn*

Posted in Method to the Madness by Ryan Thomas on April 7, 2009

Hotspot shield is a service that reroutes a users IP address. Making it impossible for censors to geographically block certain user groups.

If you’re in one of many countries which censors your access to web content this is an ideal solution. China, I’m looking at you.

Yet it’s destroying geographic targeting of online advertising:

Via Adage:

Millions of global users
It’s already happening on a not-insignificant scale. Hotspot Shield, a free ad-supported “virtual private network,” has 5.5 million global users, up from 1 million a year ago. About 4 million of those users are outside the U.S., including quite a few American expats who want to use YouTube, as well users of Google, Skype and Facebook in countries that censor those services.

Most of the traffic comes from regions where Google and other sites are censored. About 4 million unique users use the software to access Google, 800,000 use it to surf YouTube, and about half a million use it to access Facebook. About 125,000 people a month use it to watch shows on Hulu, adding urgency to the site’s effort to secure international rights for TV programming.

What can we learn from this?

Information wants to be free. Users want access to the best content on the web. It’s not about an aversion to advertising, it’s about access to content. Services like Hulu, need to learn this.

Instead of blocking users outside the U.S., offer your advertisers the opportunity to reach aspirational secondary markets. If viewers are seeking North American programing they are probably not adversed to finding out what kinds of products are associated with that life style. There are many multinational clients who would be happy to pay a premium to have this kind of access.

The web is NOT for standard media. If users are used to getting great content when they want it – offer it. Build branded content. Engage and surprise users. I could name about a hundred brands that have created a powerful web presence without simply uploading their television spots to the web.

Remember DUMP and PRAY? Don’t do that.

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4 Responses

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  1. Brent Morris said, on April 7, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Hulu is quite aware of the need of information to be free. The complications that they are having now with third-party streaming applications like Boxee, stem from disagreements with the actual content providers.

    It is the content providers like the cable networks, that need to figure it out.

    Us new media content providers figured that shit out a long long time ago.

    • Ryan Thomas said, on April 7, 2009 at 10:31 am

      I will always be conflicted about CRTC. Am I a bad Canadian?

      • Brent Morris said, on April 7, 2009 at 10:58 am

        I’m not conflicted about the CRTC, it’s a retarded idea now that doesn’t make sense anymore.

  2. Ryan Thomas said, on April 7, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Because the web is a wild wild place and we should be investing in expanding Canadian intellectual property to fuel the creative class revolution?


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