Advertising is literally everywhere…..
My friend Mark was re-counting an experience he had a few weeks ago. He was out of cash and pulled up to an ATM to fill his wallet back up (I know, paper money….weird). After typing in how much money he needed, the machine started to send the request to his bank. He waited for the cash to spit out of the machine and his eyes were drawn back to the screen to see an advertisement standing between him and his money.
As we discussed this interaction, he showed true exhaustion and frustration with the way companies are taking advantage of our attention. It’s no wonder America struggles with ADHD, anxiety disorders and depression….there’s a battle for our eyeballs and we’re continually being bombarded.
Amazon took another big step in this battle with the complete refresh of their Kindle lineup today. The new Kindle models all have ads on the lock screen when you power up the device. Yes….when you turn your Kindle Fire on you’ll see offers from Amazon, American Express, AT&T and probably others in the future…..not a pretty landscape or a picture of your wife’s cat. While this was something Amazon experimented with over the last couple years on the standard Kindle it’s a bold new move on a product that will arguably see more usage and exposure. In addition, while it’s still an “option” on the standard Kindle lineup (you can opt-out for $20 more), it’s a standard “feature” on the Kindle Fire models.
So $20-$40 (or about 16% of the purchase price) is the value that Amazon has placed on your attention…and more importantly some of your personal information. Looking at the Kindle Fire HD with LTE, the value exchange is even greater…as Jesus Diaz from Gizmodo puts it:
“The Kindle Fire HD with LTE is just $500, with a 250MB-per-month limited data plan for 50 bucks a year. The comparable iPad 32GB with LTE is $730, with a $180 a year data plan that has the same 250MB monthly cap. Oh, and Amazon’s plan includes 20GB of free cloud storage, and accessing it doesn’t count against your cap. That’s an amazing price difference. Well worth the lock-screen ads.”
But is it really enough? I’m not going to pretend that I don’t truly enjoy what our eyeballs have afforded us. The ENTIRE internet is built on them and much like Mr. Diaz, I’m willing to trade some of my attention for the amazing capabilities I’ve been given (My eyeballs are worth $4.84 every year to Facebook).
On the web, I get that I’m going to have to loan my attention out every now and then in exchange for amazing utilities, fun games, music and videos that I don’t have to pay a dime for. How will the average user react to advertising when paying hard cash for something they interact with multiple times/day over the next couple years? Jeff Bezos is going to find out.