Author: A. Kelen 1
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The free nature of the Internet is said to have been lost to business interest. The author contests this claim by showing that the overall non-profit character of the net may have been limited but certainly not yet compromised. The best stuff on the Web is still available but hidden behind error messages, unlisted databases, and little-known links. Most of cyberspace is still open for educated research, and serendipity. Valuable content may remain free as long as the emerging online business communication keeps on offering us an attractive compromise in matters of our time-use while on the net. This is a tacit give and take but the outcome belongs to the core drivers of the new economy. Online marketing and commerce proceed on a market of clicks not just users mouse clicks but also the clicks of third party meters counting time; adding up to statistical profiles; and measuring user behaviour. Advertising can help cyberspace remain toll free by compromising netizens time but offering something in return for using their personally identifiable data in business operations. I will track these innovations to the extent of understanding them and will give an evaluation from the perspective of how force-fed or interruptive they are. There are intriguing new initiatives to render commercials less aggressive and more relevant, more predicated on permission and even more dependent on bandwidth. These targeting initiatives promise the demise of the mass culture of advertising as we know it, helping commercial messages evolve into personalised and customised individual knowledge management for opting-in netizens. This endeavour is part of a wider project to understand further the phenomena of the emerging „Gratis Economy”. In this study, I will focus on marketing solutions where freeware is part of a wider revenue model or product selling strategy mix.

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