"Advertising is not well. Though companies supported by advertising still dominate the landscape and capture the popular imagination, cracks are beginning to show in the very financial foundations of the web. Despite the best efforts of an industry, advertising is becoming less and less effective online. The once reliable fuel that powered a generation of innovations on the web is slowly, but perceptibly beginning to falter. Consider the long-term trend: when the first banner advertisement emerged online in 1994, it reported a (now) staggering clickthrough rate of 78%. By 2011, the average Facebook advertisement clickthrough rate sat dramatically lower at 0.05%. Even if only a rough proxy, something underlies such a dramatic change in the ability for an advertisement to pique the interest of users online. What underlies this decline, and what does it mean for the Internet at large? This short [PDF] paper puts forth the argument for peak advertising—the argument that an overall slowing in online advertising will eventually force a significant (and potentially painful) shift in the structure of business online. Like the theory of Peak Oil that it references, the goal is not to look to the immediate upcoming quarter, but to think on the decade-long scale about the business models that sustain the Internet." [more inside]
How to communicate if the government shuts down the Internet, according to: 1) Wired (wiki) 2) PC World
With the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown on Thursday, China's ever-vigilant censors have stepped up the reach of the "Great Firewall," blocking Western sites like Twitter, Flickr, and (just one day after its launch) Microsoft's Bing. via [more inside]
In the same spirit as the Open Net Initiative and Committee to Protect Bloggers that both track global internet filtering, Sami ben Gharbia's Access Denied Map tries to track the blocking of sites like Blogger, Flickr, YouTube and others by governments, as well as efforts by activists to keep them accessible or to challenge their blockage.
Iran has censored Movable Type's website The blacklist contains over 800 Persian websites, including many political websites and weblogs, as well as many entertainment websites.
People in China are searching for justice on sites like Sina.com, as in this recent case of a poor woman who was run over by a BMW. At the same time, the authorities continue to try to tighten their grip on the web and on dissidents. Meanwhile, the official People's Daily temporarily admitted on its website the "violent crackdown" on pro-democracy students in Tiananmen Square 15 years ago, but this appears to have been a case of careless internet plagiarism.
The EFF catalogues the chilling effect of anti-terrorism. Like Google clearing its cache of certain pieces of information and a fellow who was banned from flying because of the books he was carrying.