Robert Cringely writes that pay-per-click advertising is killing the traditional publishing industry:
It isn’t the rising cost of paper, the toxicity of ink, or the increasing ease with which people read from electronic devices that is driving this effect. This has nothing to do with handheld computers, eBooks, or electronic paper. Nor is it the widely decried decline in reading. What’s killing the printed word is advertising.
For every form of publishing other than books, advertising makes the accounts balance. Unless your product is Consumer Reports, you as a publisher need ad revenue to keep the system running. Subscription fees alone aren’t enough to support most magazines and newspapers. In fact, most publishers will gladly pay the entire cost of a subscription in marketing expenses alone just to gain another subscriber. That’s because to a publisher, a subscriber is really just a reader of ads. Sell enough ads and you’ll make a lot of money.
Then along came Google and pay-per-click and everything began to change.