Ad funded houses really can't work, unless we figure out how to make housing much cheaper. An upper bound on the amount it can be worth to advertise to someone is the amount of money they spend, and in practice it's much lower
... Or ARPU for ads grows which is the point I am making. It grew from 0 to whereever it is now in 20 years and in another 20 it may match the average mortgage cost of a USA household. This is without taking into account that a lot of people would settle for less than average home, and that ad-homes would probably monetize better. Since average mortgage is only about $10k/year, I find it plausible to think of such ad-driven annual spend.
But lets say it takes 100 years to reach that point. My question that you still elluded to answer stands: is this the world you want your children to grow in?
There isn't much I can say publicly on this, except that this is a huge misunderstanding of the business?
Secrecy is understandable just not an argument. I provided evidence of first hand experience of growing and aggressive monetization and it should be obvious to anyone reading from their own experience that it is indeed the case. And since you did not produce any evidence to the contrry, I will not dig more into it and let the reader decide.
Again, I don't have internal numbers, but I would be very surprised if ads-per-search today were higher than it was ten years ago.
Can we agree that ads-per search are certainly higher than 20 years ago when there were no ads?
And not only that number of ads is growing, their presentation is increasingly aggressive :
Since my wrists got really bad I've started watching a lot more video, including YouTube. There is no way there's a commercial every 30 seconds; where are you getting that?
Ads per video have definetely gone up to the intelligence insulting levels. Try watching any cartoon with your kids without an ad blocker.
I do commend you on standing for your employer and having the courage to write about a what has to be a difficult subject, for a good reason.
ps. Are you using an adblocker in your browser?
Trading a house for ads may seem expensive today but it is only one order of magnitude difference taking median home price, fact that most people get it on 30 year mortgage and average ARPU for ads.
Let's also notice that ad monetization is increasingly aggressive which I assume is what most your team collegues have as some sort of OKR - given how we came from the world of 'ads are bad' to a world where nowadays we have entire Google search results beings ads and Youtube plays a commercial every 30 seconds. With this pace of growth ARPU will probably match average yearly mortgage payments in 5-10 years. Even if my math is off by some we are talking about ad-homes in our lifetime.
Or forget even that, you can just extend payoff period and get there today. Google could just "gift" ad-enabled homes to 20 year olds today to have contractual ~70 year payoff period (with increased ARPU as well as adhomes would monetize better).
So the question for you is - is this the world you want your children to grow in?
Jeff, the main premise of your article "better ads than paywalls" is a weak argument. Would you prefer to drive a car, given to you for free, but you have to be exposed to ads all the time you drive it? Would you prefer to live in a home that was given to you for free but every wall, every mirror and every device is recording everything you do and playing ads non-stop? Paywalls are meaningful. The "wall" protect us, our privacy, our thoughts, our sanity and gives us guarantees via a two way contract.
You can argue that some people would opt-in into a free ad-monetized homes, and it is probably the future the Google envisions. But I am pretty sure that is not the world you want your kids to grow up in.
ps. Hard to argue against Larry and Sergey's note in Appendix A of https://research.google/pubs/pub334/:
we expect that advertising-funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers